Doctors looking at pain medication prescriptions differently

Nearly half a million people have died from opioid overdoses since 2000.  Now, doctors are looking at what they can do to stop the epidemic.  

A new study is looking at how pain medication is delivered to the emergency department.  The study looked at more than 400 individuals between the ages of 21 and 64 who came to the emergency department with an injury to their extremities, such as a broken arm. 

Doctors gave one group of patients a combination of opioids and acetaminophen for pain relief.  The other group, a combination of ibuprofen and acetaminophen.  Researchers found that after two hours, patients in both groups reported about the same reduction in pain.  Doctors say opioids can be addictive in nature and that often times addiction starts with a legitimate prescription from a doctor.  

Dr. Baruch Fertel, of the Cleveland Clinic, tells us, "We now know that even one prescription, even an index prescription, could potentially cause harm and could put someone on the pathway to addiction.”

A large number of emergency department visits involve pain, so it's important for doctors to not only be able to help people manage their pain, but to do so safely. And, while it's important to manage pain, doctors say it's also important for people to be realistic about their pain level.  Sometimes, having a goal of 'zero' pain is unrealistic and dangerous.  

One of the drugs crippling our communities is methamphetamine.  Coalition Pathways hosted a forum at Girard High School, addressing treatment and what community members can do to help stop meth. labs and the use of the drug.  The organization says to look for signs of meth. use and dealing in your neighborhood such as a strong chemical odor. 

They also recommend reporting any suspicious activity to law enforcement immediately.


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