Opioid Use - What you need to know

(Image Credit: David Pacey / CC BY 2.0 / MGN)
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LANSING, Mich. (WILX) - From 1999 to 2015, the amount of prescription opioids dispensed in the United States has nearly quadrupled. That's according to the Center for Disease Control (CDC) and Prevention.
With prescriptions on the rise, so comes overdoses.
The CDC offers tools on their website for patients, caregivers, and even providers.
The CDC states on their website that the number of drug overdose deaths has never been higher, and the majority of these deaths (more than six out of ten in 2015) involved opioids.
Some may ask - what is an opioid? An opioid is in a class of drugs used to reduce pain. Most commonly prescribed opioids are oxycodone, Vicodin, morphine and methadone. These are prescribed by a doctor to treat moderate to severe pain but can have serious side effects.
A drug used to treat pain associated with cancer is Fentanyl. It's known to be more powerful than other opioids. Lately, according to the CDC, illegal Fentanyl has been on the rise in several states.
Heroin is an illegal opioid and it's use has increased across the U.S. with both genders, most age groups and all income levels.
The best way to prevent opioid overdose deaths are to improve the prescribing system. Also reducing the exposure to opioids, preventing misuse of the drugs, and treating opioid addiction as a disorder.
The CDC recommends that patients and caregivers talk with their doctor that is prescribing the drugs. Ask about ways to manage your pain that doesn't involve taking opioids. The CDC has these suggestions for alternate ways to deal with the pain:
- Take Acetaminophen (Tylenol®) or ibuprofen (Advil®)
- Cognitive behavioral therapy – a psychological, goal-directed approach in which patients learn how to modify physical, behavioral, and emotional triggers of pain and stress
- Exercise therapy, including physical therapy
- Medications for depression or for seizures
- Interventional therapies (injections)
- Exercise and weight loss
- Other therapies such as acupuncture and massage

For other helpful materials or for frequently asked questions - go to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website. The link has been provided.