Opioid Epidemic: How This Impacts Patients

Opioid abuse is a serious public health issue with drug overdose deaths as the leading cause of injury death in the United States.  With prescription opioids being an effective form of pain management, it is important to understand the potential benefits and risks of drugs including OxyCotin, Oxycodone, Codeine and Hydrocodone.

Benefits of Opioid Use

  • Short term pain reduction
  • Short term improvement to quality of life
  • Improvement in physical function

 

Risks of Opioid Use

  • Addiction and dependency
  • Long-term use linked to severe psychological dependency
  • Long-term use linked to decreased hormone production
  • Severe lethargy
  • Sleep apnea
  • Increase in falls and fractures in elderly

It is clear that opioids are not a cure-all solution that drug-companies and their advocates claim.  Doctors and the public will need to expand the conversation about pain treatment beyond how the drug industry has pushed opioids on patients.  Fortunately there are other drug free solutions that pain patients suffering from severe chronic pain can consider (e.g. Spinal Cord Stimulation, Physical Therapy, Back Surgery).

 

References:

FACT SHEET: The Opioid Epidemic – By The Numbers – PDF
This two-page fact sheet from HHS highlights statistics about drug overdose deaths and opioid abuse, the economic impact of the opioid epidemic, progress from the last year, and next steps in addressing the epidemic.

What the Public Needs to Know about the Epidemic
Protect yourself and your loved ones from prescription drug abuse and overdose death.

Drug Abuse
Drug abuse is a serious public health problem that affects almost every community and family in some way. Each year, drug abuse causes millions of serious illnesses or injuries among Americans.

Fact Sheet: Opioid Abuse in the United States – PDF
This fact sheet from the Office of National Drug Control Policy (ONDCP) provides basic information on opioid abuse in the United States.