Whether it is Sciatica, a crushed disc or any one of a myriad of pain issues, treatment often includes prescribed opiates, often in excessive quantities. And lets not forget the Benzos prescribed for anxiety and other emotional issues. The path from medication to addiction is a short one, and we, as a society, must become more vigilant in the use of addictive medications. This pain management plan is what ads to the existing heroin problem to create an opiate epidemic.
Opiates, by nature, are designed for a very limited dosing and time. They are temporary drugs. They are not designed to be a long-term cure for pain. Their job is to relieve pain and discomfort while a procedure heals or while a condition is corrected. This is not new news. There are protocols in place for the use of opiates, but these guides are often ignored by some professionals and are not even considered by so many individuals who choose to self-medicate.
I have spoken to many, many people who are addicted to opiates, and so many seem to have not understood the addictive nature of these drugs when they were initially prescribed, nor when the doses were increased. Why does this lack of education still exist? How the hell is this possible?
How does a medical professional prescribe Oxycontin for a back sprain, and leave the patient on them for months, without the obvious warnings or a timed taper before the cut-off point?
The process for medical addiction that created this opiate epidemic is quite simple. First, obviously, a painful condition develops. Treatment includes opiates to relieve the pain. After a time, as with all opiates, the effects stop working. The dose is increased, and increased again and again, until the maximum prescription level is reached.
The provider advises the patient that the prescription can no longer be filled.
The patient soon begins to feel a surprise. Opiate withdrawal. Something MUST be done.
Family, friends or co-workers come to the rescue, sliding the patient some of their own opiates, or some they have left over from a prior event. This source helps, but has a limited life, as people cannot continually shovel out all the pills necessary to maintain this new dependence.
The next step is seeking opiates from “a guy someone knows”. Meet the dealer. This works for a while. Buying on the street comes next until the money runs out.
The final step, which must be taken… heroin. Now the patient becomes the heroin addict. This is the path so many have taken, and so many more will take.
I will not drag you through the devastation this system creates for an individual and the family. Instead, I will present a sample of sensible opiate guidelines that have been in place for years.
An example of the restrictive protocols can be seen here, in a PDF titled, “Interagency Guideline on Opioid Dosing for Chronic Non-cancer Pain: An educational aid to improve care and safety with opioid therapy – 2010 Update.” Credit for this document goes to AMDG – The Washington State Agency Medical Directors Group.
Please at least browse this rather complete set of guidelines and see for yourself how the medical system has stringent limitations on the use of opiates and opioids.
I hope you find it to be eye-opening.
What will you do with this information? Well, that remains to be seen.
Please share this blog post below to help spread the word about opiate restrictions. Maybe you will save a life of two. Thank you.
About the Author:
Dave Innis, CRC, is an independent certified recovery sober coach and companion. He works with recovering alcoholics and addicts globally, either in person, via Skype sessions, phone or email. Dave Innis began as a counselor in late 1994 and has worked in the field both in the southwest and eastern US. Dave operates in the US as well as globally, and lives in Chicopee, Ma. He is also currently affiliated with Addiction Campuses. Dave will work with individuals, families, employers or recovery agencies upon request.