Let's start with the stats:
45 people die every day from opioid overdose. That's 16,425 people per year! And for every death, 30 people are admitted to the emergency room due to these drugs. That's nearly 500,000 people per year!
You would think these stats would cause health care providers to look elsewhere to help their patients. This could not be further from the truth! In the past decade, opioid prescriptions have climbed 300% and continue to rise.
A scary fact? 1 in 10 teens admit to abusing prescription drugs. Most teens report that they believe taking prescription pain killers is safer than illegal street drugs. This also could not be further from the truth. A drug called Fentanyl is 50 times more powerful than heroin. In 2007, this drug alone was responsible for over 1,000 deaths.
Have you heard the term gateway drug? The drug that most fits the bill is opioid prescription drugs. 86% of heroin users report using opioid prescription drugs prior to trying heroin. This is becoming far too common. The typical story goes: a doctor prescribes these drugs, the drugs run out, and then the newly dependent user looks for other ways to achieve the high. To be blunt, doctors that are liberal with prescribing opioid pain medication create heroin users.
Let's talk about pain. Pain is often looked at as the "bad guy", but it should be celebrated as the true hero. You can think of pain as your body's alarm system. Pain is your body's way of saying, "something is wrong! We need to pay attention!"
Imagine you are asleep in your bed at night. All of the sudden your smoke detector goes off. You would never walk through your smoke filled house to the smoke detector, take the battery out, and go back to sleep. This sounds obvious to us, but in reality, this is what we are doing every time we take pain medication. In this analogy, our bodies are the smoke filled house and the smoke detector is pain.
Of course there is a time and place for these medications. I am not saying that we should live in pain, but (in most cases) there are better ways to handle it. Numerous studies have shown chiropractic to be very effective at managing chronic pain. In addition, chiropractic lacks all the negative side effective associated with prescription pain medication.
If you or someone you know is suffering from chronic pain, share this information with them!