top of page

Opioid Addiction and Pain Solutions

Like many, the Opioid crisis has struck so close to home for me and left me feeling confused and helpless. I have been touched by others who have lost a relative or friend, or who have died in conjunction with their own personal use of the drugs. I see the individual prescribed these drugs for an indeterminable amount of time being dropped from medical practices that no longer exist or which have demonstrated a “knee-jerk” response to the crisis.

In my attempts to respond, I have launched my own investigation into the crisis and what I learned and understand I am now sharing with you. In this post, I’ve provided a grid with pain management solutions. Some of these may be familiar to you and some may give you new options to share with those in need.

My hope is this will enlighten and provide some benefits to you, your loved ones or friends. I encourage you to consult me or your Primary Care Physician on any of the content I’ve shared.

— Dr. Andrews

Drug Overdose Deaths In The United States Continue To Increase In 2017

Drug overdose deaths and opioid-involved deaths continue to increase in the United States. According to the Center for disease Control (CDC), the majority of drug overdose deaths (more than seven out of ten) involve an opioid. Since 1999, the number of overdose deaths involving opioids (including prescription opioids and heroin) quadrupled. From 2000 to 2015 more than half a million people died from drug overdoses.

91 Americans die every day from an opioid overdose.

The most common drugs involved in prescription opioid overdose deaths include:

  • Methadone

  • Oxycodone (such as OxyContin®)

  • Hydrocodone (such as Vicodin®

Overdose Deaths

Among those who died from prescription opioid overdose between 1999 and 2014:

  • Overdose rates were highest among people aged 25 to 54 years.

  • Overdose rates were higher among non-Hispanic whites and American Indian or Alaskan Natives, compared to non-Hispanic blacks and Hispanics.

  • Men were more likely to die from overdose, but the mortality gap between men and women is closing.

Additional Risks – Heroin Use Is Trending Up

Among new heroin users, approximately three out of four report abusing prescription opioids prior to using heroin. The increased availability, lower price, and increased purity of heroin in the US have been identified as possible contributors to rising rates of heroin use.

The Use – Deadly

Heroin-related deaths more than tripled between 2010 and 2015, with 12,989 heroin deaths in 2015. The largest increase in overdose deaths from 2014 to 2015 was for those involving synthetic opioids (other than methadone), which rose from 5,544 deaths in 2014 to 9,580 deaths in 2015. One of these synthetic opioids, illegally-made fentanyl, drove the increase. It was often mixed with heroin and/or cocaine as a combination product—with or without the user’s knowledge.

Dr. Tom Frieden, director of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) was quoted as saying: “We know of no other medication routinely used for a nonfatal condition that kills patients so frequently.” Furthermore he warned, “Patients given just a single course may become addicted for life.” Doctors and patients simply must become fully cognizant of this immense risk!