Why would anyone use methadone?

I’m not talking about, why would anyone use methadone instead of cold turkey detox, I’m talking about why would anyone in their right mind use methadone instead of buprenorphine?

Really…I want to know, so if you’ve chosen methadone over buprenorphine or suboxone…why??? Firstly, I should say that I never used either in my battles with opiate type pain pills, but I understand and respect the use of opiate substitution as a valid and respectable choice in a recovery program. But I just don’t get what’s better about methadone.

The drug is more easily abused You have to go to a clinic to take it It is very addictive The eventual detox off of methadone is terrible

So why, when buprenorphine has little potential for abuse, and can be prescribed in a month’ supply, when it’s far less addictive than methadone and when the eventual withdrawal and detox pains are nowhere near as bad as for methadone…why?

I know that there are some problems with finding a doctor capable of prescribing the drug in some parts of the country, and I also know that it is more expensive, but when you consider the cost benefit ration and weigh the options, buprenorphine just seem to me to come up a clear winner. So if any one can answer me this question, I would love to know why so many people still choose methadone.

I’m not talking about, why would anyone use methadone instead of cold turkey detox, I’m talking about why would anyone in their right mind use methadone instead of buprenorphine?

Really…I want to know, so if you’ve chosen methadone over buprenorphine or suboxone…why??? Firstly, I should say that I never used either in my battles with opiate type pain pills, but I understand and respect the use of opiate substitution as a valid and respectable choice in a recovery program. But I just don’t get what’s better about methadone.

The drug is more easily abused You have to go to a clinic to take it It is very addictive The eventual detox off of methadone is terrible

So why, when buprenorphine has little potential for abuse, and can be prescribed in a month’ supply, when it’s far less addictive than methadone and when the eventual withdrawal and detox pains are nowhere near as bad as for methadone…why?

I know that there are some problems with finding a doctor capable of prescribing the drug in some parts of the country, and I also know that it is more expensive, but when you consider the cost benefit ration and weigh the options, buprenorphine just seem to me to come up a clear winner. So if any one can answer me this question, I would love to know why so many people still choose methadone.

Pharmaceutical companies are making millions on the sale of unapproved drugs

As much as the pharmaceutical companies might argue for greater self regulation as a way to streamline the approvals process and reduce the expense to the consumer (while creating greater profits as well) certain unsettling reports about the industry as a whole should raise serious questions about the industry’s ability to self regulate.

Most notoriously of recent months is the oxycontin settlement, where executives in the company were found guilty of misleading doctors and the general public about the dependency risk of oxycontin, and just last night on CNN was another report about troubling drug company practices.

Apparently, there are massive quantities of medications sold throughout the country everyday that have not yet been approved by the FDA as safe, and some of these drugs have been on the market, consumed and available for some time.

How can this happen?

Through the FDA drug approval process, when drugs apply to begin testing for approval, they are issued a 10 digit tracking number. Problematically, this same 10 digit number is used by pharmacists selling the drug, whether or not they have been approved. What has happened is that doctors and pharmacists mistakenly believe that since the drug has the FDA number and is available for sale, that it has passed FDA testing as safe; when this is too often not the case.

A knowing disregard of the law

But although doctors and pharmacists may claim legitimate ignorance, obviously the manufacturers of the drugs are well aware of the status of each and every drug they market, and well aware that they are selling what is reported to be over 65 million filled prescriptions worth of these illegal drugs each year. Obviously this is not the FDA’s finest moment either, but the fact that pharmaceutical companies are knowingly exploiting a previous lack in enforcement on the sale of unapproved drugs for profit is shameless, and seriously damages their credibility as a self regulating industry.

Prescription drugs currently contribute to a massive abuse and addiction problem, and we may need to tighten regulation and control ever further on the production and sale of drugs, and obviously those in a position to profit from the sale of these drugs cannot be relied on to act ethically, or with the best interests of the public in mind. The money to be made in the pharmaceutical industry is enormous, and while the vast majority in the industry are likely conscientious and moral people, there are obviously enough that will engage in questionable practices–risking the safety of consumers–that the industry as a whole cannot be trusted to act with integrity.

As much as the pharmaceutical companies might argue for greater self regulation as a way to streamline the approvals process and reduce the expense to the consumer (while creating greater profits as well) certain unsettling reports about the industry as a whole should raise serious questions about the industry’s ability to self regulate.

Most notoriously of recent months is the oxycontin settlement, where executives in the company were found guilty of misleading doctors and the general public about the dependency risk of oxycontin, and just last night on CNN was another report about troubling drug company practices.

Apparently, there are massive quantities of medications sold throughout the country everyday that have not yet been approved by the FDA as safe, and some of these drugs have been on the market, consumed and available for some time.

How can this happen?

Through the FDA drug approval process, when drugs apply to begin testing for approval, they are issued a 10 digit tracking number. Problematically, this same 10 digit number is used by pharmacists selling the drug, whether or not they have been approved. What has happened is that doctors and pharmacists mistakenly believe that since the drug has the FDA number and is available for sale, that it has passed FDA testing as safe; when this is too often not the case.

A knowing disregard of the law

But although doctors and pharmacists may claim legitimate ignorance, obviously the manufacturers of the drugs are well aware of the status of each and every drug they market, and well aware that they are selling what is reported to be over 65 million filled prescriptions worth of these illegal drugs each year. Obviously this is not the FDA’s finest moment either, but the fact that pharmaceutical companies are knowingly exploiting a previous lack in enforcement on the sale of unapproved drugs for profit is shameless, and seriously damages their credibility as a self regulating industry.

Prescription drugs currently contribute to a massive abuse and addiction problem, and we may need to tighten regulation and control ever further on the production and sale of drugs, and obviously those in a position to profit from the sale of these drugs cannot be relied on to act ethically, or with the best interests of the public in mind. The money to be made in the pharmaceutical industry is enormous, and while the vast majority in the industry are likely conscientious and moral people, there are obviously enough that will engage in questionable practices–risking the safety of consumers–that the industry as a whole cannot be trusted to act with integrity.

The Truth About Ultram Addiction

Ultram, although not a narcotic, is very addictive, and the withdrawal sure felt a lot to me like any other opiate withdrawal. I would recommend anyone thinking about taking this drug to do some internet research, and get informed about the real risks associated with Ultram.

Ultram, also sold as Tramadol, and when mixed with acetaminophen, as Ultracet, is a touted "non addictive" non narcotic painkiller, that is currently unrestricted, and easily bought over the internet. Although my doctor assured me that this medication was not habit forming, I never the less managed to develop a serious addiction to the stuff, and the withdrawal from Ultram sure felt just as real as withdrawal from Vicodin.

Not Addictive!?!?!

Ultram is not technically a narcotic, but it is a Mu opioid antagonist, and does elicit much of the same pleasurable high as a traditional opiate; and as a result is very addictive when taken at more than the recommended dosage. Although the medical community still does not recognize this medication as addictive, a quick internet search reveals huge communities of people exchanging messages of hope, and stories of severe addictions to this theoretically non addictive substance, with many people saying that this drug seems to be even more addictive than many of the traditional opiate type drugs, and the withdrawal pains are just as bad if not worse, and the withdrawal longer.

Unfortunately, the medical community seems to be reluctant to acknowledge the abuse potential of this medication, and as such this drug can still be easily purchased through any online pharmacy without the need for a prescription, and most doctors will prescribe the medication without nearly the thought they would give to a prescription for any of the scheduled drugs. I didn’t even realize how hopelessly addicted I was to this medication until I tried to stop. I had been taking the pills in response to a work injury that left me with severe but not unmanageable back pain, and I was taking 8-50 mg Ultram daily, which is still within the daily range of acceptable dosages.

The Seduction of Tramadol Abuse

Unfortunately, I was not taking the drug only for pain control, and truth be told I never found that it worked all that well for that, but I loved the feeling of wellbeing this drug gave me. Not high exactly, but they just put me in a really great mood, improved my concentration, and perversely, even gave me tons of energy. I really loved the way these pills made me feel, and as a result, took more than I strictly needed, just to enjoy the great feelings the pills gave me; 2 in the morning, one a few hours later, and then a whack of five in the early evening, to really enjoy myself at the end of the day.

I was planning a long trip abroad, and I was worried about the sheer numbers of pills I would need to be taking through international customs, and so I decided I should probably try to stop. I came down with a bad cold, and I had run out of pills, and as such I figured it was as good a time as any to get off of the drug. A few hours later I was shaking, I had incredibly intense leg jumpiness (which is a lot more unpleasant than it sounds), I hurt everywhere, I felt nauseous, and I had sweats and cold flashes. In short, I was in agony. Realizing just how addicted I was, I jumped in the car, and started looking for overnight pharmacies…alas I had left it too late, and was forced to wait until 8 in the morning before finally finding some early rising pharmacist cracking the door, and I was inside in seconds getting a refill on my prescription.

I had the pills in my mouth before getting back to my car, and by the time I got home, I was already feeling much better. I know how desperate I must have looked, and I just didn’t care…I needed those pills very badly. So this was a bit of a wake up call to me. I figured I had become dependent, but the scale of my addiction and the intensity of the withdrawal shocked and scared me. I later learned that what I had tried to do was in fact dangerous, and to try to go cold turkey off of Ultram greatly increases the risks of seizures.

I spoke with my doctor about my experience, and although he conceded that the drug could be "habit forming" he seemed very skeptical about my experienced reaction. He recommended tapering down by a pill a week, and that’s what I did, although after reading a lot on the internet, I actually reduced my dosage even slower than that. It ended up taking me a number of months to really get clean, and get off of these pills. The thing about Ultram that makes them so seductive, at least to me, is that I always felt completely functional while taking the pills; I just felt great, and I could go all day, and enjoy whatever mundane tasks I was assigned. Hanging the laundry was as enjoyable as watching a movie and I had the energy to keep going and keep bopping around all day long. I woke up each morning feeling pretty lethargic, but a couple of pills and a coffee, and a half an hour later I was ready to face the world.

Of course I seemed to pay a price for this when I ultimately tried to get clean off of the pills, and the depression and anxiety I felt during this period was significant, and certainly made me regret my period of artificial happiness. My advice to anyone considering the drug is to think very carefully about the risks involved, and don’t listen solely to assurances within the medical community of the safety and low abuse potential. Do a bit of internet research, and take a look at the thousands of personal shared experiences that tell a very different story. If you do take it, make sure you don’t exceed the recommended dosage, and make sure you take the occasional day off from the meds; probably at least one complete drug free day a week.

These pills are a lot of fun, but getting off of them is truly agony. Be very careful with "non addictive" Ultram.

Ultram, although not a narcotic, is very addictive, and the withdrawal sure felt a lot to me like any other opiate withdrawal. I would recommend anyone thinking about taking this drug to do some internet research, and get informed about the real risks associated with Ultram.

Ultram, also sold as Tramadol, and when mixed with acetaminophen, as Ultracet, is a touted "non addictive" non narcotic painkiller, that is currently unrestricted, and easily bought over the internet. Although my doctor assured me that this medication was not habit forming, I never the less managed to develop a serious addiction to the stuff, and the withdrawal from Ultram sure felt just as real as withdrawal from Vicodin.

Not Addictive!?!?!

Ultram is not technically a narcotic, but it is a Mu opioid antagonist, and does elicit much of the same pleasurable high as a traditional opiate; and as a result is very addictive when taken at more than the recommended dosage. Although the medical community still does not recognize this medication as addictive, a quick internet search reveals huge communities of people exchanging messages of hope, and stories of severe addictions to this theoretically non addictive substance, with many people saying that this drug seems to be even more addictive than many of the traditional opiate type drugs, and the withdrawal pains are just as bad if not worse, and the withdrawal longer.

Unfortunately, the medical community seems to be reluctant to acknowledge the abuse potential of this medication, and as such this drug can still be easily purchased through any online pharmacy without the need for a prescription, and most doctors will prescribe the medication without nearly the thought they would give to a prescription for any of the scheduled drugs. I didn’t even realize how hopelessly addicted I was to this medication until I tried to stop. I had been taking the pills in response to a work injury that left me with severe but not unmanageable back pain, and I was taking 8-50 mg Ultram daily, which is still within the daily range of acceptable dosages.

The Seduction of Tramadol Abuse

Unfortunately, I was not taking the drug only for pain control, and truth be told I never found that it worked all that well for that, but I loved the feeling of wellbeing this drug gave me. Not high exactly, but they just put me in a really great mood, improved my concentration, and perversely, even gave me tons of energy. I really loved the way these pills made me feel, and as a result, took more than I strictly needed, just to enjoy the great feelings the pills gave me; 2 in the morning, one a few hours later, and then a whack of five in the early evening, to really enjoy myself at the end of the day.

I was planning a long trip abroad, and I was worried about the sheer numbers of pills I would need to be taking through international customs, and so I decided I should probably try to stop. I came down with a bad cold, and I had run out of pills, and as such I figured it was as good a time as any to get off of the drug. A few hours later I was shaking, I had incredibly intense leg jumpiness (which is a lot more unpleasant than it sounds), I hurt everywhere, I felt nauseous, and I had sweats and cold flashes. In short, I was in agony. Realizing just how addicted I was, I jumped in the car, and started looking for overnight pharmacies…alas I had left it too late, and was forced to wait until 8 in the morning before finally finding some early rising pharmacist cracking the door, and I was inside in seconds getting a refill on my prescription.

I had the pills in my mouth before getting back to my car, and by the time I got home, I was already feeling much better. I know how desperate I must have looked, and I just didn’t care…I needed those pills very badly. So this was a bit of a wake up call to me. I figured I had become dependent, but the scale of my addiction and the intensity of the withdrawal shocked and scared me. I later learned that what I had tried to do was in fact dangerous, and to try to go cold turkey off of Ultram greatly increases the risks of seizures.

I spoke with my doctor about my experience, and although he conceded that the drug could be "habit forming" he seemed very skeptical about my experienced reaction. He recommended tapering down by a pill a week, and that’s what I did, although after reading a lot on the internet, I actually reduced my dosage even slower than that. It ended up taking me a number of months to really get clean, and get off of these pills. The thing about Ultram that makes them so seductive, at least to me, is that I always felt completely functional while taking the pills; I just felt great, and I could go all day, and enjoy whatever mundane tasks I was assigned. Hanging the laundry was as enjoyable as watching a movie and I had the energy to keep going and keep bopping around all day long. I woke up each morning feeling pretty lethargic, but a couple of pills and a coffee, and a half an hour later I was ready to face the world.

Of course I seemed to pay a price for this when I ultimately tried to get clean off of the pills, and the depression and anxiety I felt during this period was significant, and certainly made me regret my period of artificial happiness. My advice to anyone considering the drug is to think very carefully about the risks involved, and don’t listen solely to assurances within the medical community of the safety and low abuse potential. Do a bit of internet research, and take a look at the thousands of personal shared experiences that tell a very different story. If you do take it, make sure you don’t exceed the recommended dosage, and make sure you take the occasional day off from the meds; probably at least one complete drug free day a week.

These pills are a lot of fun, but getting off of them is truly agony. Be very careful with "non addictive" Ultram.

Why we need to cut down on the amount of Acetaminophen in Vicodin

Vicodin (and Lortab, Lorcet, Zydone, Hydrocet, and Co-Gesic) are all a combination of hydrocodone and acetaminophen. Hydrocodone is the opiate that we get addicted to, but harmless seeming acetaminophen presents the greatest danger to our livers as we take increasing amounts of vicodin when addicted. We need to change the ratio of medicines in each vicodin pill, and we also need to find a way to help the millions of people addicted, and taking too much vicodin each and every day.

One of the funny things about opiates is that even though they can be enormously addictive, when taken as directed, and even when abused to a certain degree, the drugs themselves are not very toxic, and do not cause many health problems of their own accord. Now of course a pain pill addiction can destroy your life and your health, and overdose, coma and death are a real possibility, but the opiates themselves are relatively safe when taken in moderation.

Vicodin is #2

Behind alcohol, the second most commonly abused drug in the US is currently Vicodin, and this potent narcotic is relatively easy to get, very addictive, and also contains enough acetaminophen within to make tolerance and addiction problematic and dangerous. The trouble with opiates is that tolerance can develop so easily, and with tolerance comes an increasing need to take more of the drug simply to achieve the same and desired effect.

So while the dosage of Vicodin as prescribed and recommended by your doctor may be very safe, and you could take this for some time without undue damage, with the high potential for abuse, addiction and tolerance, the drug becomes increasingly dangerous. The maximum recommended daily dosage of acetaminophen is 4000 mg, and you are not recommended to consume more than 1000 mg at a single dose. Some doses of Vicodin contain as much as 750 mgs of acetaminophen mixed with the synthetic codeine within per pill, and when abuse brings the need for increasing amounts of Vicodin, it’s pretty easy to exceed the maximum daily dosage of acetaminophen… and that’s bad news for the liver.

Acetaminophen, the active ingredient in innocuous Tylenol, is seriously toxic to the liver in high doses, and exceeding the recommended amount in a single day can cause liver failure and ultimately death. So it seems that with Vicodin addiction, one of the greatest dangers is not the scary sounding opiate within, but the harmless seeming acetaminophen that gets ingested in increasing and dangerous dosages as time goes on. People with serious Vicodin addictions can consume 20-30 or more pills daily, and this more than doubles the maximum recommended dosage of acetaminophen; it’s even reported that one man with a severe Vicodin addiction could take as many as 100 pills per day…and it’s incredible that his liver survived and he lives to tell the story.

Make it Safer

So what’s to be done? The answer to this problem (and Vicodin addiction is a complex and serious problem that our nation needs to address) is both to reduce the availably and number of prescriptions issued for vicodin, and as well to reduce the acetaminophen content contained within each pill. In response to increasing numbers of deaths and emergency room visits as a result of acetaminophen caused liver failure, patient advocacy groups have been campaigning drug makers to reduce the amount of acetaminophen in each pill from as much as 750 mgs, to a maximum of 250 mgs per pill. By greatly decreasing the acetaminophen, addicts could safely consume three times as many pills before risking liver failure from acetaminophen toxicity.

No one recommends that people consume more than the recommended dosage of these pills, but with millions of people addicted and already taking too much Vicodin each day, we need to face the reality and minimize the harm caused. The other step that needs to be taken is simply to reduce the numbers of people prescribed this drug each day, and thereby hopefully reduce the number of people that become newly dependent on the drug. Doctor’s argue that vicodin is a safe and effective treatment for severe pain, but with the numbers that abuse it each day, I think that we need to find a better and safer alternative to this very addictive and currently easy to get drug.

I had as serious addiction to vicodin, and although I was aware of the damage potential to my liver, I regularly took more than the maximum recommended dosage of acetaminophen in my quest to get the effects I wanted from the hydrocodone. By the end I wasn’t taking the drugs for pain relief, but simply for addictions symptoms relief, and the extra acetaminophen certainly wouldn’t have been missed. We have far too many Vicodin addicts in this country, and we need better access and encouragement towards treatment to deal with the existing problem; but until we do greatly lessen the numbers addicted to this prescription medication, we need to reduce the damage that the drug is doing to the bodies of these unfortunate pain pill addicts.

Vicodin is everywhere, and it might be your neighbor, your friend or even your mom, you never know who is susceptible to the seductions of prescribed vicodin, and we need to look out for each other while we try to fix this societal problem.

Vicodin (and Lortab, Lorcet, Zydone, Hydrocet, and Co-Gesic) are all a combination of hydrocodone and acetaminophen. Hydrocodone is the opiate that we get addicted to, but harmless seeming acetaminophen presents the greatest danger to our livers as we take increasing amounts of vicodin when addicted. We need to change the ratio of medicines in each vicodin pill, and we also need to find a way to help the millions of people addicted, and taking too much vicodin each and every day.

One of the funny things about opiates is that even though they can be enormously addictive, when taken as directed, and even when abused to a certain degree, the drugs themselves are not very toxic, and do not cause many health problems of their own accord. Now of course a pain pill addiction can destroy your life and your health, and overdose, coma and death are a real possibility, but the opiates themselves are relatively safe when taken in moderation.

Vicodin is #2

Behind alcohol, the second most commonly abused drug in the US is currently Vicodin, and this potent narcotic is relatively easy to get, very addictive, and also contains enough acetaminophen within to make tolerance and addiction problematic and dangerous. The trouble with opiates is that tolerance can develop so easily, and with tolerance comes an increasing need to take more of the drug simply to achieve the same and desired effect.

So while the dosage of Vicodin as prescribed and recommended by your doctor may be very safe, and you could take this for some time without undue damage, with the high potential for abuse, addiction and tolerance, the drug becomes increasingly dangerous. The maximum recommended daily dosage of acetaminophen is 4000 mg, and you are not recommended to consume more than 1000 mg at a single dose. Some doses of Vicodin contain as much as 750 mgs of acetaminophen mixed with the synthetic codeine within per pill, and when abuse brings the need for increasing amounts of Vicodin, it’s pretty easy to exceed the maximum daily dosage of acetaminophen… and that’s bad news for the liver.

Acetaminophen, the active ingredient in innocuous Tylenol, is seriously toxic to the liver in high doses, and exceeding the recommended amount in a single day can cause liver failure and ultimately death. So it seems that with Vicodin addiction, one of the greatest dangers is not the scary sounding opiate within, but the harmless seeming acetaminophen that gets ingested in increasing and dangerous dosages as time goes on. People with serious Vicodin addictions can consume 20-30 or more pills daily, and this more than doubles the maximum recommended dosage of acetaminophen; it’s even reported that one man with a severe Vicodin addiction could take as many as 100 pills per day…and it’s incredible that his liver survived and he lives to tell the story.

Make it Safer

So what’s to be done? The answer to this problem (and Vicodin addiction is a complex and serious problem that our nation needs to address) is both to reduce the availably and number of prescriptions issued for vicodin, and as well to reduce the acetaminophen content contained within each pill. In response to increasing numbers of deaths and emergency room visits as a result of acetaminophen caused liver failure, patient advocacy groups have been campaigning drug makers to reduce the amount of acetaminophen in each pill from as much as 750 mgs, to a maximum of 250 mgs per pill. By greatly decreasing the acetaminophen, addicts could safely consume three times as many pills before risking liver failure from acetaminophen toxicity.

No one recommends that people consume more than the recommended dosage of these pills, but with millions of people addicted and already taking too much Vicodin each day, we need to face the reality and minimize the harm caused. The other step that needs to be taken is simply to reduce the numbers of people prescribed this drug each day, and thereby hopefully reduce the number of people that become newly dependent on the drug. Doctor’s argue that vicodin is a safe and effective treatment for severe pain, but with the numbers that abuse it each day, I think that we need to find a better and safer alternative to this very addictive and currently easy to get drug.

I had as serious addiction to vicodin, and although I was aware of the damage potential to my liver, I regularly took more than the maximum recommended dosage of acetaminophen in my quest to get the effects I wanted from the hydrocodone. By the end I wasn’t taking the drugs for pain relief, but simply for addictions symptoms relief, and the extra acetaminophen certainly wouldn’t have been missed. We have far too many Vicodin addicts in this country, and we need better access and encouragement towards treatment to deal with the existing problem; but until we do greatly lessen the numbers addicted to this prescription medication, we need to reduce the damage that the drug is doing to the bodies of these unfortunate pain pill addicts.

Vicodin is everywhere, and it might be your neighbor, your friend or even your mom, you never know who is susceptible to the seductions of prescribed vicodin, and we need to look out for each other while we try to fix this societal problem.

Should doctors be prescribing so many pain pills?

The Mayo clinic states that the probability for abuse is low, if the pills are taken exactly as directed…and that is a big if! Anyone who has battled pain pills knows how seductive these medications can be, and when taking the legitimate dosage takes away the pain, and also makes you feel so good, it’s pretty easy to flirt with disaster by occasionally taking just a bit more than the recommended dosage.

Too often, occasionally upping the drugs leads to continually upping the drug, and before you know it you are hopelessly addicted to these medications originally prescribed to heal. It’s a complex issue, and these medications do serve a valid need for people with extreme pain, and often these medications are the difference between normal functioning, and chronic bedridden pain; and as such doctor’s groups have repeatedly lobbied against attempts made by drug regulatory agencies to increase monitoring and regulations to access. Doctor’s say that any increased regulations will make it too hard for legitimate pain patients to get the medications they need for their very real pain needs.

 So what’s to be done?

It seems clear that these medications do serve an important role in the pain management for many, but they also prove debilitating and addictive to millions, surely there must be some middle ground. I feel that the responsibility for the alleviation of the problem should ultimately begin with doctors, and they must start to prescribe these addictive drugs with less frequency. Using risk assessments such as issued by the Mayo clinic as a basis for a decision to prescribe powerful pain pills does not seem to be working, and while it is true that when used exactly as directed the risk of addiction is low, we cannot and should not ignore the reality of the situation.

Millions of people rely on these pain pills every day just for normal functioning and these people are hopelessly addicted, suffer many of the social and health problems associated with an addiction to any drug; and this must be regarded as powerful evidence requiring a change in our current pharmacological practices. I don’t know what the answer is, but I do know that ignoring the reality, and ignoring human nature is naive. If you give 100 children a box full of cookies, and tell them to eat just one every four hours…some may follow the instructions, but a lot sure won’t; and it seems that even as we age into "responsible" adults, we don’t change too much when temptation and pleasure is involved.

People in every society in the world get high, it’s in our nature, and doctors must consider the possibility for abuse versus the real requirement for medication when evaluating a person’s true need for pain pills. I was addicted to pain medications; and while I was in pain, and the medications prescribed worked very well for that pain, the pain they ultimately caused was far worse than pain they healed. I could have survived with less potent and less addictive medications, and while it would have been slightly less comfortable at the time, it would have been far better in the long run.

If someone has unbearable pain, then surely they need access to the best possible medications, but if the pain can be managed through any other means, perhaps addictive pain medications are not the best or safest choice.

The Mayo clinic states that the probability for abuse is low, if the pills are taken exactly as directed…and that is a big if! Anyone who has battled pain pills knows how seductive these medications can be, and when taking the legitimate dosage takes away the pain, and also makes you feel so good, it’s pretty easy to flirt with disaster by occasionally taking just a bit more than the recommended dosage.

Too often, occasionally upping the drugs leads to continually upping the drug, and before you know it you are hopelessly addicted to these medications originally prescribed to heal. It’s a complex issue, and these medications do serve a valid need for people with extreme pain, and often these medications are the difference between normal functioning, and chronic bedridden pain; and as such doctor’s groups have repeatedly lobbied against attempts made by drug regulatory agencies to increase monitoring and regulations to access. Doctor’s say that any increased regulations will make it too hard for legitimate pain patients to get the medications they need for their very real pain needs.

 So what’s to be done?

It seems clear that these medications do serve an important role in the pain management for many, but they also prove debilitating and addictive to millions, surely there must be some middle ground. I feel that the responsibility for the alleviation of the problem should ultimately begin with doctors, and they must start to prescribe these addictive drugs with less frequency. Using risk assessments such as issued by the Mayo clinic as a basis for a decision to prescribe powerful pain pills does not seem to be working, and while it is true that when used exactly as directed the risk of addiction is low, we cannot and should not ignore the reality of the situation.

Millions of people rely on these pain pills every day just for normal functioning and these people are hopelessly addicted, suffer many of the social and health problems associated with an addiction to any drug; and this must be regarded as powerful evidence requiring a change in our current pharmacological practices. I don’t know what the answer is, but I do know that ignoring the reality, and ignoring human nature is naive. If you give 100 children a box full of cookies, and tell them to eat just one every four hours…some may follow the instructions, but a lot sure won’t; and it seems that even as we age into "responsible" adults, we don’t change too much when temptation and pleasure is involved.

People in every society in the world get high, it’s in our nature, and doctors must consider the possibility for abuse versus the real requirement for medication when evaluating a person’s true need for pain pills. I was addicted to pain medications; and while I was in pain, and the medications prescribed worked very well for that pain, the pain they ultimately caused was far worse than pain they healed. I could have survived with less potent and less addictive medications, and while it would have been slightly less comfortable at the time, it would have been far better in the long run.

If someone has unbearable pain, then surely they need access to the best possible medications, but if the pain can be managed through any other means, perhaps addictive pain medications are not the best or safest choice.

The slippery slope to pain pill addiction

Pain pills are seductive; they feel so good, and because they’re prescribed…you feel justified to use and abuse. In rehab I learned that my story is depressingly common, and millions of people are hooked on a medication that is supposed to ease pain, not cause more.

If you’re an addict, and you’ve never abused pills, then you are certainly in the minority. A drug is a drug is a drug, and legal, clean and relatively cheap doctor prescribed pharmaceuticals can be an easy path to the high we all crave.

I’ve always been mostly a drinker, and through a lot of pain and suffering, plus a lot of help from my sponsor, I eventually got into recovery and had been sober for more than 3 years…until I discovered pain pills. I got injured on the job, and was prescribed tramadol and then later vicodin for the pain in my back. The combination of too much time at home, and legitimate pain pill needs led me quickly back to drug abuse.

I never intended to abuse the medications, and in retrospect, I should have informed my doctor of my history of abuse and asked for less addictive medications, but I didn’t…and for a while I had a whole lot of fun! I started taking only the recommended dosage, and it made me feel better, and it became increasingly easy to justify taking a bit extra and a bit more often, after all, I did have a legitimate need for the pills! That self delusion ended quickly, and after a couple of weeks I knew I was using far more to get high that for symptoms relief, but I just didn’t care…those pills felt too good. I didn’t need to hide my usage either, and family members never knew how much I was using, and never suspected a problem like I had had with drinking.

The problem began with my doctor, and after about 6 months, he became increasingly reluctant to continue prescribing the pills in the quantity I needed. He began prescribing gradually lesser amounts of the pills in an effort to taper down my usage, while what I really needed was ever greater amounts just to feed my increasing physical and psychological dependency. What began as a relatively guilt free, and rationalizable bit of fun, started to feel a whole lot more like a problem when I started to visit doctor after doctor, trying to get more pills; and enduring their sometimes incredulous expressions of disbelief as they prescribed small doses of medications.

I really started to feel like the junky I had become and it wasn’t fun anymore. The pills were never as pleasurable as they were in the beginning, and as my usage continued, my family started to grow increasingly concerned about my odd behaviors, and my seemingly never ending period of recuperation. I hated lying to doctors and knowing they didn’t believe me, and I hated that constant worry and stress about getting my needed supply. I tried to quit on my own, but the withdrawal was too tough, and I just couldn’t do it.

I eventually told my wife, who by this point was getting very concerned and suspicious, and she kicked my but right back into treatment, like I knew she would. Detox was rough, but I made it, and the classes and therapy helped my get my head back on straight. I thought I had beaten my battle with addiction, and had stopped going to meetings as a result, but I now realize that I need to be vigilant for life, or I’ll be back down where I started, an addict again.

The moral of the story is to be very cautious of pain pills, especially if you have any history of addiction. They feel too good, and it’s too easy to rationalize your usage. They take the pain away, but the pain they cause is worse than the initial problem ever was.

Pain pills are seductive; they feel so good, and because they’re prescribed…you feel justified to use and abuse. In rehab I learned that my story is depressingly common, and millions of people are hooked on a medication that is supposed to ease pain, not cause more.

If you’re an addict, and you’ve never abused pills, then you are certainly in the minority. A drug is a drug is a drug, and legal, clean and relatively cheap doctor prescribed pharmaceuticals can be an easy path to the high we all crave.

I’ve always been mostly a drinker, and through a lot of pain and suffering, plus a lot of help from my sponsor, I eventually got into recovery and had been sober for more than 3 years…until I discovered pain pills. I got injured on the job, and was prescribed tramadol and then later vicodin for the pain in my back. The combination of too much time at home, and legitimate pain pill needs led me quickly back to drug abuse.

I never intended to abuse the medications, and in retrospect, I should have informed my doctor of my history of abuse and asked for less addictive medications, but I didn’t…and for a while I had a whole lot of fun! I started taking only the recommended dosage, and it made me feel better, and it became increasingly easy to justify taking a bit extra and a bit more often, after all, I did have a legitimate need for the pills! That self delusion ended quickly, and after a couple of weeks I knew I was using far more to get high that for symptoms relief, but I just didn’t care…those pills felt too good. I didn’t need to hide my usage either, and family members never knew how much I was using, and never suspected a problem like I had had with drinking.

The problem began with my doctor, and after about 6 months, he became increasingly reluctant to continue prescribing the pills in the quantity I needed. He began prescribing gradually lesser amounts of the pills in an effort to taper down my usage, while what I really needed was ever greater amounts just to feed my increasing physical and psychological dependency. What began as a relatively guilt free, and rationalizable bit of fun, started to feel a whole lot more like a problem when I started to visit doctor after doctor, trying to get more pills; and enduring their sometimes incredulous expressions of disbelief as they prescribed small doses of medications.

I really started to feel like the junky I had become and it wasn’t fun anymore. The pills were never as pleasurable as they were in the beginning, and as my usage continued, my family started to grow increasingly concerned about my odd behaviors, and my seemingly never ending period of recuperation. I hated lying to doctors and knowing they didn’t believe me, and I hated that constant worry and stress about getting my needed supply. I tried to quit on my own, but the withdrawal was too tough, and I just couldn’t do it.

I eventually told my wife, who by this point was getting very concerned and suspicious, and she kicked my but right back into treatment, like I knew she would. Detox was rough, but I made it, and the classes and therapy helped my get my head back on straight. I thought I had beaten my battle with addiction, and had stopped going to meetings as a result, but I now realize that I need to be vigilant for life, or I’ll be back down where I started, an addict again.

The moral of the story is to be very cautious of pain pills, especially if you have any history of addiction. They feel too good, and it’s too easy to rationalize your usage. They take the pain away, but the pain they cause is worse than the initial problem ever was.