General Article

Safer Alternatives for Opioid Addictions

May 2, 2017

Recent data has disclosed that over 115 people die from an opioid overdose on a daily basis in the United States alone. Scientists have been testing a Non Addictive Opioid Treatment in primates and concluded that it was effective and safe. The fact that the painkiller was successful with a species closely related to humans only strengthens the results, which has the potential to solve the opioid epidemic in public health. The lineage of the opioid epidemic started in the late 1990s when physicians were prescribing opioid-based medications like oxycodone, hydrocodone, fentanyl, codeine, morphine, and others at accelerated rates.

The Severity and Efforts to Cure Opioid Abuse

The NIDA has reported that in 2015, two million people were living with an opioid abuse disorder and over 33,000 people from the United States died from an overdose. Data has also suggested that 29 percent of patients who are prescribed painkillers will end up abusing them. Additionally, the NIDA is supporting research efforts to find alternatives to these addictive drugs, one recent effort has proven successful. One professor and a team of scientists at Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center developed a non-addictive opioid-based painkiller. The team tested the new product in a species of primates called rhesus monkeys and the results can be found in the journal of Science Translational Medicine.

The Driving Force Behind Opioid Abuse

There are millions of people who are in severe pain and some suffer from back pain and chronic headaches while others are dealing with sport related injuries, surgery, and automobile accidents. Millions of prescriptions are written by physicians every year for painkillers and many of them are powerful opioids. Opioids can lead to serious addictions and they have abnormal side effects that can change how a person thinks, feels, acts, and responds to normal everyday situations. What starts out as a means to deal with pain ends up becoming the addiction, and this is the driving force behind the opioid abuse.

Other Safe Non-Opioid Options are Available

There are other options available for non-opioid treatments for pain like ibuprofen, over-the-counter aspirin, and acetaminophen. Other non-drug solutions include acupuncture, massages, and high-tech treatments using electrical signals or radio waves. If you are in severe pain and don’t want to take opioid-based medications, a physician anesthesiologist can help you develop an effective and safe pain management plan.

The Medical Benefit of Using Cannabis

The CBD properties found in cannabis has been studied world-wide and is now part of a mainstream alternative to using opioid-based medications. Studies have been found that when cannabis is introduced as a means to relive pain for those who are prescribed opioid-based pain killers, lowers doses are needed for pain relief; therefore, reducing the addictive properties of opiates. As a matter of fact, studies have also found that when chronic pain patients are prescribed cannabis, their daily dose of opioids are cut in half. Patients have reported a major difference in unpleasant side effects of opioids while using cannabis and improvements in their day-to-day lives. No matter the treatment options, there are safer alternatives available to help fight opioid addiction.