Newspaper article News Sentinel

How to Avoid Misuse, Abuse of Opioids

Newspaper article News Sentinel

How to Avoid Misuse, Abuse of Opioids

Article excerpt

Almost every day, we see stories across the state and the nation about the opioid abuse epidemic.

While the medical community has worked and is continuing to work to cut initial prescriptions, reduce or eliminate doctor shopping and promote alternate treatment for pain management, people are still dying.

Last year, more than 64,000 people in America died from drug overdoses. That's more than peak car crash deaths (1972), peak HIV deaths (1995), or peak gun deaths (1993).

The epidemic has increased general awareness about the dangers of opioids, but many patients may still not understand how they can best protect themselves and others.

The Tennessee Medical Association wants you to know how you can help prevent misuse and abuse.

Know the risks and warning signs

Start by asking yourself: Are you on a dangerous dose of pain medication? Are you or is your loved one at risk for dependence and addiction?

CDC guidelines for chronic pain state that you are getting into dangerous territory if you are taking more than 50 morphine milliequivalents of pain medication per day, the equivalent of 10 tablets of hydrocodone, two of oxycodone or three tablets of methadone.

Nationally, patients who died from overdose were more likely to be on 90 morphine milliequivalents. Patients who take drugs at this dosage should use extreme caution taking anxiety or sleep medications. …

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