Call 413.540.1234 to
schedule an appointment
CONCERN/EAP: 413.534.2625
Billing questions? Call: 413.540.1212
CRISIS: 413.733.6661

Drug Addiction
Resources
Basic InformationLatest News
Big Pharma's Marketing to Docs Helped Trigger Opioid Crisis: StudyMore Americans Mixing Opioids With SedativesOpioids Now More Deadly for Americans Than Traffic AccidentsFatal Drug ODs Soaring Among Middle-Aged Women: CDCPostpartum Opioid Rx May Lead to Persistent Use: StudyOpioid Overdose Deaths Triple Among Teens, KidsMore Evidence That Abuse of Xanax, Valium Is on the RiseCould Pot Harm Men's Sperm?Opioids May Help Chronic Pain, But Not MuchFentanyl Now the No. 1 Opioid OD KillerNew Approach to Opioid Crisis: Supervised Heroin Injection Programs?Opioids Plus Other Drugs a Deadly Mix for Heavy UsersEven Wisdom Tooth Removal May Spur Opioid AddictionMeth, Opioid Use in Pregnancy on the RiseOpioids Increasingly Tied to Deaths of Pregnant WomenMany Drugstores Won't Dispense Opioid Antidote as RequiredAHA: Meth Use Producing Younger, Harder-to-Treat Heart Failure PatientsOver 2 Million Americans Have Hepatitis C; Opioids Help Drive SpreadMany Young Drug Abusers Not Tested for Hepatitis C, Study FindsCoffee Shop Workers on Front Lines of Opioid CrisisReports Warn of Growing Opioid Crisis Among Seniors'No Documented Reason' for 1 in 3 Outpatient Opioid Rxs: StudyStates Struggle With Onslaught of Opioid OD DeathsU.S. Deaths From Suicide, Drugs Surpass DiabetesDoctors Write Fewer Opioid Scripts After Learning of Overdose DeathNumber of Opioid-Addicted Women Giving Birth QuadruplesAs Opioid Epidemic Rages, Painkiller Prescriptions Don't DropFDA Warns of Deaths Tied to Tainted Synthetic PotEven Once-a-Week Pot Smokers Have More Cough, PhlegmDeath Certificate Data May Miss Many Opioid ODs: StudyKids Are Overdosing on Med Meant to Fight Opioid AddictionHave Insurers Played a Role in Opioid Crisis?If Opioid Addicts Survive OD, Other Hazards Lie Ahead: StudyWhen DEA Cracked Down on Opioids, Abusers Moved to Black Market: StudyPot, Opioids Now Rival Alcohol as Factor in Driver DeathsPatterns of Potential Misuse Help Assess Risk of Opioid OverdoseOpioid Crisis Means More Newborns With Hepatitis C, But Few Get TestedSubstance Use Disorders Linked to Conversion to SchizophreniaPeople With Opioid Use Disorder Have High Suicide RateMany Opioid Overdoses May Be SuicidesFirst Opioid Lawsuit Targeting Pharmacy Benefit ManagersAddictive Opioids Still Overprescribed After Surgery: StudyDoctors Curbing First-Time Prescriptions for OpioidsMom's Marijuana Winds Up in Breast MilkCould Medical Pot Help Curb the Opioid Abuse Crisis?ER Docs Prescribe More Opioids Than They RealizeAs Pot Smoking Rises, Users Might Also Turn to CigarettesResponding to Opioid Crisis, FDA Puts More Restrictions on ImodiumHow to Avoid Opioid Addiction After SurgeryMemory Loss Hitting Some Fentanyl Abusers
Links

How to Avoid Opioid Addiction After Surgery

HealthDay News
by -- Robert Preidt
Updated: Jan 30th 2018

new article illustration

TUESDAY, Jan. 30, 2018 (HealthDay News) -- Following surgery, many patients head home with prescriptions for 30 or more opioid painkillers -- enough to trigger addiction, warns a leading group of anesthesiologists.

The American Society of Anesthesiologists recommends using prescription painkillers sparingly, if at all, after surgery.

"Nobody needs a prescription for 30 or 50 opioids, and even those who are in major pain and may benefit should only take them for a day or two," said Dr. James Grant, society president.

"There are effective alternatives and many people don't need opioids at all or at least should drastically reduce the amount they take," Grant said in a society news release.

Opioid painkillers -- such as OxyContin (oxycodone) and Vicodin (hydrocodone/acetaminophen) -- are highly addictive. And addiction can develop after taking just a few of them, the society warned.

Grant said post-surgical prescription practices have played a role in the U.S. opioid epidemic.

Despite the risk of dependence, many surgery patients receive prescriptions for a month's supply or more of opioid pills. And about 6 percent are still using them three months or longer after their surgery, according to a study published last year in JAMA Surgery.

"The opioid crisis is huge and affects everyone, rich and poor, male and female, folks who live in urban areas as well as rural areas. It's got to stop, and reducing opioid use during recovery after surgery is a big part of the solution," Grant said.

More than 2 million Americans abuse opioids, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Since 2000, opioid overdose deaths in the United States have increased 200 percent.

To reduce reliance on painkillers, the anesthesiologists' group offers advice for coping with discomfort as you recover from surgery:

  • Only take opioids when in extreme pain. Medications such as ibuprofen (Motrin), naproxen (Aleve) and acetaminophen (Tylenol) can manage pain and soreness. These medications are not addictive and are far less risky than opioids.
  • Understand that soreness and discomfort after surgery are normal and will improve within a day or two. These sensations are different than pain, which is typically sharp or intense.
  • While in recovery after surgery, try to be clear when asked if you are in pain. Specify if you are sore, uncomfortable or in serious pain.
  • If you have significant pain, ask that an opioid prescription be limited to a small amount, such as five pills. If you do take opioids, take them only for a day or two after surgery, three days at most. Your pain will improve significantly within a few days whether or not you take opioids.

Limiting the number of opioid pills helps prevent unused painkillers from getting into the wrong hands, the anesthesiologists said.

"Those who are in continued severe pain after surgery should ask a physician anesthesiologist or other pain specialist about other strategies to manage pain, including exercise, nerve blocks and non-opioid medications," Grant said.

More information

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has more on prescription opioids.