Opioid Safety Is Focus of $1 Million-A-Year Educational Initiative

A group that represents patients living with pain has launched an initiative aimed at educating physicians and patients on how to prescribe and use opioids and other pain treatments safely. The $1 million-a-year project is called Pain Safety & Access for Everyone, or PainSAFE. It comes in response to a rise in deaths and overdoses related to opioid abuse and controversy over how the drugs are marketed. (Link to Story)

reason for overdoses

The truth is most overdoses occur due to the mixing of opiates with other drugs, most commonly benzodiazepines( Xanax, Klonopin, Valium) or barbituate type of drugs.  

Opiates are commonly misconstrued as being significantly harmful when they are one of the safest medications on the market; In terms of deaths, side effects and over-all affect on the body.  No drug is one hundred percent safe, and they do cause a physical addiction resulting with withdrawal effects if abruptly stopped.  That said the biggest harm they cause is mainly to the person who is addicted, not physically but in the affect it has on ones life when they do start taking more than prescribed and look for alternative means of getting more opiates.  This is due to the legalities of the drug, which force the price of the drug to sky rocket on the black market, as well as the stigma associated with it.   Over all opiates are fairly safe, safer than most over the counter medications.  What is not safe is taking more than allotted because it is illegal, which means it will eventually cost you significantly in the end if such things can not be controlled.


I wanted to copy and paste the comment about "taking another pill, if the pain does not go away".  But, this, new, comment system fights me! The doctor said the this is what led to overdose! Well, the only medication that has a long enough half life, to make this kind of behavior worrisome, is Methadone. If taken too soon and too often, one chances overdose. But, with the opiates, this is not, so much, a problem.  The long acting pills (MS Contin, Oxycontin) might also be a problem, but most people know not to take those as often as their breakthrough, short acting, medication.  That is, if their doctor has taken the little time, it takes, to communicate with them, adequately.


If the doctor is in communication with the patient, then it would not be a problem, with suggesting increasing the dose. It would, rarely, (.00001%? of the time) lead to an overdose.  The entire premises for the use of high dose opiates is ignored by this "pain doctor"  Where did he learn this crap?  Then again, I must face the reality of pain management as I see it done for my mother. She suffers daily with a malfunctioning dorsal column stimulator, but rarely sees the pain doctor more than once every three months. If doctors would start, really, caring again, maybe people would not have to suffer. Or, in the case he is describing, the patients will be in contact with their doctor and not trying to treat (by taking an extra pill) the inadequately treated pain.  I blame the doctors for not taking, better, care of their patients!


Overdoses are , sometimes, accidental.  But, I would suspect most, who do, are taking more than one, additional, pill, without a doctor's advice!  The entire things seems bogus.  But, it really should! This is an example of the drug companies trying to jump through hoops created by, ignorant,  government bureaucrats, to appease them when the attack is not on the real problem associated with drug abuse and overdose deaths.  It is not the chronic pain patients who are overdosing! 

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