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Physicians and opioids: Part of the solution, but challenges ahead
As doctors acknowledge the role that they have played in the current opioid crisis, they, along with hospitals, medical schools, and other members of the medical community have worked to address the issue on several fronts, including instituting prescribing guidelines and offering continuing education to prescribers.
Treating pain after opioid addiction: A personal story
What happens when a person who was addicted to opiates is injured and needs pain medication? A doctor who is in recovery has firsthand experience.
Long-term use of opioids may depend on the doctor who prescribes them
With opioid addiction such a serious problem, new research indicates that some doctors are more likely to prescribe opioids to their patients than others, and those patients are more likely to end up taking these medications long term. That means it is crucial for consumers to educate themselves about the risks of taking opiates, and to consider alternative medications and treatments if possible.
Teen drug use is down: Better parenting, or more smartphones?
Data from an annual survey show that use of illicit drugs among teenagers is in decline, and has been for some time. It’s possible that this can be partially attributed to the popularity of smartphones.
Parents: As more states legalize marijuana, here’s what you need to know and do
As marijuana becomes legal or is decriminalized in more states, teens are less likely to view its use as risky, so parents need to talk with their children about safety, especially if they use it themselves.
A primary care doctor delves into the opioid epidemic
A new approach to treating the large numbers of people with opioid use disorder involves using medications to prevent withdrawal symptoms, and has been shown to be safer and more effective than traditional detox treatment, but some question the replacement of one drug with others.
The downside of taking pills to treat chronic pain
When the risks of medication outweigh the benefits.
Image: © iStock
Taking over-the-counter or prescription painkillers may seem like a simple solution for chronic pain. It's actually a bit more complicated, yet many older adults aren't aware of potential problems. "They think that if it doesn't require a prescription, it's safe. But there are some long-term health risks," says Dr. Edgar Ross, director of the Pain Management Center at Harvard-affiliated Brigham and Women's Hospital.
Here's what you should know about some commonly used pain relievers.
Keep tabs on your drinking
When it comes to alcohol, moderation is still the mantra. But even one drink a day may pose a risk to the heart.
Wine, champagne, and cocktails are standard fare at many holiday gatherings. But before you raise your glass, make sure you're aware of just how much alcohol you're actually consuming—and how it may affect your heart.
As part of a standard health history, most physicians will ask about your drinking habits. In general, moderate drinking—defined as one drink per day for women and two drinks per day for men—is considered safe. But there are some caveats.
Saving lives by prescribing naloxone with opioid painkillers
Unintentional opioid overdose is now the leading cause of accidental death in the United States. These drugs are prescribed to patients to help relieve pain, but overdoses happen because opioids can also depress breathing, sometimes stopping it altogether. But naloxone, also called Narcan, can help reverse the effects of an overdose. If doctors prescribe naloxone at the same time as opioids, overdose deaths may decrease.
Words matter: The language of addiction and life-saving treatments
The challenges of drug addiction are compounded by stigmatizing language and incorrect perceptions about the medications used in addiction treatment. Viewing addiction as a disease and likening it to other chronic diseases can help remove the negative connotations from the illness.
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