5 Precautions for Prescription Painkillers

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You have just discovered that your son is addicted to painkillers. He grew up in a good, loving home and had a stable family life. He graduated college and has a great full-time job. So what happened? Why is he addicted to these substances that were supposed to help him feel better after surgery? Treatment for substance abuse is often the result of this type of story.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), as many as 1 in 4 people who receive prescription opioids long term for non-cancer pain in primary care settings struggles with addiction. The most common drugs involved in prescription opioid overdose deaths include Methadone, Oxycodone (such as OxyContin), and Hydrocodone (such as Vicodin).

In other words, you and your son are not alone. Addiction can affect anybody at any time, under almost any circumstance. Treatment for drug addiction is available, but preventive measures are extremely important to avoid addiction in the first place. Here are five precautions you can take next time you or somebody you love is prescribed pain medication.

1) Let your doctor know your concerns.

If you are already aware that taking these kinds of medications may be problematic for you, let your doctor know so that they can guide you in a healthful and beneficial way. Even if you don’t think they will be a problem, let your doctor know that you want to use them in the safest way possible.

2) Do not share your prescriptions with anybody.

Not only is sharing prescription medication illegal, it can also lead to a loved one’s addiction. According to a survey from the White House’s Office of National Drug Policy, over 55% of Americans who used pain relievers non-medically got the medication from a friend or family member for free.

3) Take your medications only as directed.

When communicating with your doctor about prescription painkillers, ensure that you are only taking medication as needed and as directed. Discuss in detail your plan of weaning off the medication. Know that there will be pain, but it is part of the healing process. Numbing that pain can be both emotionally and physically damaging, so try to avoid it as much as possible.

4) Reduce the risk of drug interactions.

The FDA states, “Don’t mix opioids with alcohol, antihistamines, barbiturates, or benzodiazepines. All of these substances slow breathing and their combined effects could lead to life-threatening respiratory depression.”

5) Look for non-addictive alternatives.

If you are taking painkillers for a surgery, work with a physical therapist to safely start working out the affected area. Within a few days, taper off the prescription medication by alternating it with over-the-counter pain relievers such as Advil or Aleve, and use ice on the affected area. Make sure you are eating a balanced, healthy diet to promote healing, and drink plenty of water.

If you or someone you love struggles with prescription painkiller addiction, contact us at 833-AKUA-NOW and we can help you find a solution.