The younger you are when you are exposed to opioids, the higher the likelihood of addiction later in life. The prefrontal cortex is not fully formed until the age of 25. This means that alterations in the “feel-good” neurotransmitters, specifically dopamine (released by opioids), can have an effect that predisposes the person towards future opioid use. Because teenagers have an overactive impulse to seek pleasure and less ability to consider the ...

Read more...

Who remembers Jack Kevorkian, Doctor Death? He was found guilty in 1998 of second-degree murder. Still, it was because of his advocacy that the terminally ill patient's right to die by physician-assisted suicide was propelled into the public arena. And who can forget Brittany Maynard? It was her advocacy for physician-assisted suicide that reignited the debate on its legality in 2014 — but this ...

Read more...

You’ve probably heard this one in one format or another: kid gets wisdom teeth yanked, dentist prescribes a handful of Vicodin, next thing you know, he’s on the street busking for change to pay the man for the big H. Meanwhile, the dentist is on cruises paid by Big Pharma and taking kickbacks from his local drug dealers. This author is here to tell you that such yarns have probably been verified, ...

Read more...

Lori Pinkley, a 50-year-old from Kansas City, Mo., has struggled with puzzling chronic pain since she was 15. She has had countless disappointing visits with doctors. Some said they couldn’t help her. Others diagnosed her with everything from fibromyalgia to lipedema to the rare Ehlers-Danlos syndrome. Pinkley has taken opioids a few times after surgeries, but they never helped her underlying pain, she said. “I hate ...

Read more...

“6 in 10 Kids Got Opioids After Tonsil Surgery, Study Says.” So screams the headline from The Daily Beast. "In the midst of the opioid crisis, doctors sent many kids home with oxycodone and hydrocodone," it goes on to say. Another example of scaremongering and sensational headlines, or is this something we should still be concerned about? Well, according to the actual article, there was no greater risks of complications ...

Read more...

Americans have always loved their medicines and sought them out actively to cure whatever ailed them. Their interest ranged all the way from "staying well" to "feeling better." Productivity in this hard-charging, pull yourself up by the bootstraps society required activity, and it's hard to be active when you're sick. In the 18th-century in Germany, England, France, and Switzerland, men practicing pharmacy saw their retail operations as the ...

Read more...

I sat in the back seat of a police patrol car handcuffed with a mind imprisoned by addiction. My day had finally arrived after months of a manhunt by state detectives for operating a fraudulent prescription enterprise to support my obsession and compulsion with cocaine. No more unmarked police cars staked outside the crack houses that I frequented or my mother’s home or in pharmacy parking lots waiting to capture ...

Read more...

I'd been told in my hospital sign-out that Melanie was transgender, but I stumbled on the first day and referred to her as "he" in front of my medical team. "She!" she said immediately. "Oh, man," I thought to myself. I was a hospitalist teaching medical students at one of the most liberal medical schools in the country — University of California, San Francisco. I should have known better. When I ...

Read more...

A guest column by the American Society of Anesthesiologists, exclusive to KevinMD.com. Marijuana is made from the dried flowers of the cannabis plant. Made of more than 500 chemicals, including over 100 compounds called cannabinoids, the primary active compounds in the plant are tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) and cannabidiol (CBD). THC acts on specific brain cell receptors that ...

Read more...

Americans and Canadians are seven times more likely to fill a prescription for opioid pain pills in the week after surgery than Swedes, says a study published Wednesday, one of the first to quantify international differences. More than 75% of patients in the U.S. and Canada filled a prescription for opioids following four common surgeries, compared with 11% of Swedes, researchers report in JAMA Network Open. Americans also ...

Read more...

The judgment in the Oklahoma trial against Johnson & Johnson for their role in the opioid crisis is a good start to what deserves to be an ongoing pursuit of justice for the victims, their families, and the states. Any financial settlement is only a Pyrrhic victory unless the following non-negotiable conditions are met: 1. Every single penny must go toward treatment. There are not nearly enough inpatient ...

Read more...

STAT_LogoI’ve been living with chronic pain for more than a decade. It began in 2009 with nerve damage after emergency groin surgery. Four years later, I fell and hit my head. That fall led to a constant headache, a whistling sound in my ear, back and hip pain, tingling and numbness in my hands and feet, electrical shocks ...

Read more...

When they started practicing medicine, most surgeons say, there was little or no information about just how many pain pills patients needed after specific procedures. As a result, patients often were sent home with the equivalent of handfuls of powerful and addictive medications. Then the opioid crisis hit, along with studies showing one possible side effect of surgery is long-term dependence on pain pills. These findings prompted some medical ...

Read more...

It took me decades of studying, training, hard work, and sleepless nights to become a doctor. In approximately five years, I became a successful writer, editor, columnist, and a whole array of other titles assigned to that type of work. In under 3 seconds, I became a chronic pain patient for the rest of my life. Around this time last year, I was taking my two dogs outdoors when they spotted ...

Read more...

Stigma towards health conditions interferes with access to compassionate care. Both social stigmas from friends and family and medical stigma from professionals are issues. Perhaps the worst recent example of medical stigma is how people with HIV/AIDS were treated in the 1980s. They were isolated physically and spiritually. While in medical school a professor related that on the HIV floor the food trays were left outside the door like ...

Read more...

Our community had one of “those” providers — a midlevel who was the local pain person. If you had pain, go to her. She would write you for anything you could want and more. It’s unclear if she was unscrupulous or just inept. But last year, the DEA finally figured out what she was doing and yanked her license. There was nothing in the news. Nothing on the internet. We ...

Read more...

What if I told you that your adolescent child could contract a disease that can never be cured, but only maintained? That it would be a lifelong struggle that could change their personality, compromise their potential and values, destroy their relationships and have a long-term detrimental effect on their overall and mental health? That this disease can even be fatal, when ineffectively maintained? What if I told you that the ...

Read more...

Recently, I was at a health care facility in a semi-urban region, less than 100 miles from a major metro. It had a whiff of industry from good times that have long drifted by. I tried to locate a Starbucks. Google Maps spotted one and took me towards the local university campus. As I drove there, I noticed several pain management clinics advertising themselves in unusual ways for "relief." Once inside the ...

Read more...

One night, a woman I’ll call Tonya got a compliment from a guy when she was out with her boyfriend. Tonya’s boyfriend cursed her because another man had complimented her. He said: “You give it to everybody, I want it too.” In anticipation of his physical abuse, she reasoned, “I could go off to Wonder World.” She then injected heroin, to be “in her own world,” she later told me. Tonya ...

Read more...

I've noticed a frightening trend in the latest research on patients taking prescribed opioids: whatever the negative outcomes, researchers attribute them to the opioid medications instead of the underlying pain. The many detrimental outcomes these studies find are exactly what you'd expect from a person suffering long-term chronic pain. They don't recognize or calculate into their studies that opioids were prescribed to ease intractable pain. It's like stating ...

Read more...

11 Pages

Most Popular

✓ Join 150,000+ subscribers 
✓ Get KevinMD's 5 most popular stories
Subscribe. It's free.