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Better Days A Menthal Health Recovery Workbook, Craig Lewis

Story about prescription drug doctors

How many of us question our doctors, when they hand us a prescription? Most of us, are content to get that little slip of paper, that should cure,whatever is ailing us quickly. Doctors are supposed to help people get well and stay well right? What if I told you, that wasn’t necessarily true. Doctors are human and pharmaceutical companies, offer them incentives, prizes, fancy dinners and all sorts of things, to encourage physicians to prescribe whatever drug that rep is peddling. We have all seen the magnets, note pads and pens, doctors carry, that usually have the name of some drug in it. How much does big pharma influence what doctors prescribe? More than most people are aware of, that is for sure. How many of you have noticed that currently our citizens are dying from heroin overdoses, in record numbers. Is it just that heroin is back and lots of people, decided to sign their life away to that needle and spoon? Sorry folks, but you need to step off your soap box and look at the facts.

When I started to study the heroin epidemic, almost all the addicts interviewed, or family members of people who died of heroin overdoses, all started with the same story. "I was prescribed pills by my doctor and I found myself addicted. Once I couldn't get pills from my doctor anymore, I tried heroin, because it’s cheaper and the high is better." The heroin epidemic that this country is facing right now, was created by doctors and pharmaceutical companies.

The makers of oxycontin, a company called Purdue had to pay $635 million dollars, to settle a lawsuit, because of misleading marketing, regarding how addictive oxycontin is. They sold the myth to doctors and patients alike, that opiate based pain pills were not addictive or harmful.

How many of you think this could never happen to you? Never say never folks. Norco, Vicodin, Percocet, morphine, oxycontin, all opiate based pain pills, have become the cure all, for most people with chronic pain. Let's say you had a back problem, and your doctor prescribed you opiates, to take on a daily basis. But, the doctor didn't tell you, that if you follow their instructions and take these pills, every few hours, for a couple months. You may be setting yourself up to grow physically dependent, on the very medication that was supposed to make your life easier.

To be honest, for years when I was prescribed opiate based pain pills, I didn't even think twice about taking them. It wasn't until I had several friends, who had to detox off of prescribed pain pills, that I started to read more. One female friend had knee surgery and was prescribed percocet for pain. After a few weeks, when she was out of her prescription, she noticed she didn't feel well. She thought she had a cold, and then realized, her body was reacting to not having opiates in her system. After getting on line and reading about the pills, she had been taking for about six weeks, she realized what was going on and never took opiates again.

I have been prescribed opiates, for different pain issues and the only thing doctors have said is that they cause constipation. I was not informed that if I took pain pills regularly, I would probably have a terrible addiction problem, sooner than later. I once had a doctor, who said to me: "It's easier to keep people on pills, then to take them off of them." That stuck with me.

About a year ago, another friend of mine detoxed off of opiates. They started with pain pills and graduated to heroin over the course of their use. I watched them take pills all the time. Yet, I didn't realize how severe the issue was, until I saw what happened when they were out of pills. Being dope sick is no joke folks. The reason people don’t detox off of heroin or prescription pills easily, it's because your body does not make is easy.

Here are symptoms of opiate withdrawal: "chills, fever, body aches, flu like symptoms, uncontrollable diarrhea, vomiting, inability to sleep, etc". When you watch someone detox from opiates, it's a lot like watching the Exorcist. That pain and desperation is real and the only thing that makes it go away, is time or another fix.

Due to all of this, I began to question my doctors a bit more, especially when it came to pain management. I had a rib issue earlier this year and I was prescribed norco, which I took for a few weeks, but the pain was still horrible. So my doctor decided to move me to percocet and increase the dose. I asked the doctor why, he was giving me stronger pills and twice the amount, of my last prescription. His response: "At this point, you just need to manage your pain and if we move you to this medication, it should help."

It was at this point, I realized, if I stayed on this course of treatment, chances are I was going to have a major problem, beyond pain. The doctor and I proceeded to get into an exchange, that was not very friendly and I called him lazy and irresponsible. Not once in all of our conversations about pain, did he ever warn me about becoming addicted to these pills. He was about to hand me a prescription, that very well could have made me a statistic. Had I not been aware of the potential problem with opiates, or known people, who had serious problems after being on prescription pain pills. I could have become one of the people who graduated to heroin, once my doctor cut off my prescription pill supply.

Just this year, Prince a music legend, an icon, died from an accidental overdose of Fentanyl. Fentanyl is an opiate prescribed to cancer patients and it is about ten times as strong as morphine or heroin. After Prince died, it came out that he had a crippling prescription pill addiction. From what I have read, Prince was trying to seek help to detox from prescription pain pills, but unfortunately he ended up with fentanyl, instead of percocet, and our entire planet mourned the loss of a musical genius.

Due to the increased demand for prescription pills, drug cartels have been mixing fentanyl into heroin and prescription pills. Let's say you can't get pills from your doctor anymore, so you begin to buy pills off the streets. Drug dealers who manufacture pills, are cutting them with fentanyl. The people buying them see a pill that looks exactly like the ones, they got from a pharmacy, but they are not the same. You take a pill, thinking you know the dose and you are dead. Or, you buy that bag of heroin, that is cut with fentanyl and you are dead. Either way you look at it, desperation of being dope sick, is killing people in large numbers.

Let's be honest, if fentanyl had not become a factor to this countries opiate crisis, many people would still be blissfully ignorant. I guarantee you know at least one person, battling this deadly disease and you have no idea. When my friend was at the height of their prescription pill addiction, most people had no idea. They were white, made lots of money and if you didn't look closely, you couldn't see they were hanging by a thread. Please realize the people who are dying could be you, your wife, your husband, your child, your sister or brother. Instead of assuming this is a problem that doesn't affect you, think again. I never thought, heroin would be part of my life, until I began to see people I love struggle, between living and dying. That is the fight they are fighting, not getting high, means feeling so physically ill, you want to die. Or, you take that next fix and then you become a statistic that is zipped into a body bag. Question your doctors and understand these people that are dying, could be you or someone you love.

~ Advocate of a WAATME accredited organization.