As we follow the national opioid epidemic, with its greater than five deaths per hour from opioid overdoses, the focus is shifting to methods for limiting an individual’s exposure to these drugs. For most of us, our first contact with these highly addictive medications is after surgery. Studies now reveal that 60 percent of pills prescribed for pain after surgery go unused. These opioids often make their way to other family ...

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In order to fully understand the issues surrounding opioid prescribing practices, it is important to review a brief history of how these drugs came to market. Opium was the first opioid, derived from the sap of opium poppies whose growth and cultivation dates back to 3,400 BC. In the 18th century, physicians in the U.S. used opium for multiple ailments. Towards the end of the 18th century, the addictive qualities of ...

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After years of exaggeration, misinformation and a national epidemic of opioid and heroin abuse, the nation is finally coming to terms with the fact that pain is not the fifth vital sign. This heresy, as I understand it, has existed for close to three decades and, in my opinion, has been directly responsible for the deaths of thousands of patients and lethal drug overdoses of hundreds of thousands of American ...

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