Opioids (including heroin and illicit fentanyl) are now the leading cause of accidental death in Americans under the age of 50. Therefore opioids should ONLY be considered when all other options have failed.
Even though opioids can be extremely beneficial to many patients in severe chronic and debilitating pain who have failed to respond all other treatment options, they can be lethal to those who do not use them appropriately. Patients must understand that the decision to use opioids for a chronic pain problem is a very serious one, and should never be taken lightly.
Celebrities whose deaths are reported in the news are just a few of the many that have lost their lives due to complications associated with the inappropriate use of opioid pain medications. We hear about the celebrities, but there are thousands dying each year from opioid overdoses and this number grows each year.
While the majority of the currently reported opioid deaths are due to heroin, illegal fentanyl, and non medically prescribed opioids, deaths still occur in patients overtaking their prescribed medication and/or taking them in combination with alcohol and other substances.
Additionally, there are other risks associated with Prescription Pain Medications, especially if:
• Taken without a prescription
• Taken in higher doses than prescribed
• Taken in an effort to get “High”
• Taken in combination with alcohol, tranquilizers, sleeping pills, other opioids, or illegal substances.