Opioids

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I was hit by a car some years ago and severely injured. As we experience ongoing deaths from opioids, I’m especially grateful to the physician who stopped administering morphine to me about a week or so after the accident, although I was kept in the hospital for nearly four weeks.

I vividly remember his telling me that he was stopping this medication. I was very frightened that I’d experience intense pain without it. I protested in vain but he told me that he wanted to prevent my becoming addicted to it.

This seemed preposterous to me at the time. The accident occurred about 30 years ago. There was little to no discussion going on at the time about the dangers of opioids. My feeling back then was that if anyone needed this medication, I certainly did at the time.

The doctor was adamant… no more morphine. He switched me to prescription strength Tylenol despite my protests. Today I remain eternally grateful to that very insightful and protective orthopedic surgeon. One of the main factors leading to opioid addiction is severe orthopedic injuries, such as I’d experienced.

Opioid overdoses are a leading cause of death in our country. Morphine is an opioid drug.

I managed with Tylenol and physical therapy. There was some discomfort…ok, quite a bit of discomfort…but I managed. The pain wasn’t as awful as I’d feared. I made an excellent recovery without more morphine or any other opioids.

I think opioids may be over-prescribed today. If I could make it through nearly two years of recovery after such severe and extensive injuries with no more than a week or so of morphine, I suspect that others can too.

I encourage everyone to discuss the potential for addiction with your physicians and dentists whenever opioids are prescribed. Discuss conservative pain management alternatives. We need to take responsibility for our own health, especially when it comes to pain management medications.

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