According to the Centers for Disease Control, prescription pain medication addiction is rapidly becoming an epidemic. One of the reasons that this is happening is due to the amount of people who suffer from chronic pain. Most people do not start out addicted to painkillers, it is a gradual building up to addiction. Most people with chronic pain suffer from back injuries, soft tissue injuries, arthritis, and other chronic conditions. Unfortunately, the condition does not stop the patient from falling to addiction.
Dealing with Chronic Pain
One of the primary ways that people deal with chronic pain is with opiates. Unfortunately, opiates are extremely addictive and dangerous drugs. Many of these drugs are also highly addictive and have extreme side effects of their own. It is an unfortunate side effect of having chronic pain. These patients have to continue to take the drugs at increasingly high levels because their bodies develop a tolerance to them.
Although there are other options for chronic pain, most involve experimental procedures or expensive ones. Most of these treatments are out of reach for the typical chronic pain patients who are on disability due to their conditions. Most of these patients live on a small income and have very little in the way of health insurance.
DEA regulations are another issue when dealing with chronic pain. The DEA is starting to crack down on doctors that write the prescriptions for opiate medications. There have been doctors imprisoned or who have had their licenses revoked due to their patient’s misuse of these medications.
Cracking Down on Doctors
When they crack down on doctors, they also crack down on patients. Doctors fear writing these prescriptions and therefore very often leave true chronic pain patients in pain and those dependent on the drug in withdrawal. The pain patients who need these medications are deprived of the relief that they need.
Most doctors are very careful about who they write prescriptions. They are qualified to judge who is in pain and who is not. The DEA crackdown has bound their hands in many cases where legitimate pain requires treatment. When a doctor withdraws the opiates, they often do not think of the withdrawal their patients go through. Opiate withdrawal while not deadly is often described as worse than death.
Self-Medicating For Chronic Pain
When a doctor withdrawals medication for chronic pain, patients often turn toward other solutions. Although there are some natural pain killers that might work for them, these rarely work. Many of them turn to black market opiates and purchase them on the street or steal them. Unfortunately, these are expensive and risky. There is a cheaper solution. The solution is even worse than the original problem.
They turn to heroin. Heroin is made from the same plant that many of the opiate pain killers are. Although their original intention is to just relieve the pain, unregulated use of heroin leads to horrible addiction and need.
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