It MAY be all in your head!

What you feel is real — and your brain may be to blame when a disease isn’t. It’s why a firm diagnosis is often out of reach for those who suffer from chronic pain.

Health problems always seemed to be more drastic for Bill than for others. He wouldn’t just get a cold — he’d get bronchitis. While other kids were skinning knees or bruising elbows, he was breaking bones. Then about six years ago, when he was 36, a car accident changed the course of his life. He hurt his back and couldn’t seem to get over his injuries. Chronic pain set in, and nothing seemed to help. Read more. . .

"Junk" - a short documentary about drug addiction and recovery

“Junk” is a short documentary about Kyle Simpson-a college student, who fell into opiate addiction, and his path to sobriety. Now, with over 3 years of recovery, he examines opiate addiction in Jackson County, interviewing key stakeholders in the community to question how this epidemic started and what is being done to solve it.

You Draw It: Just How Bad Is the Drug Overdose Epidemic?

In School Nurse’s Room: Tylenol, Bandages and an Antidote to Heroin

At every school in New Rochelle, just north of the Bronx, in Westchester, there is a locked medicine cabinet in the nurse’s office, which now includes naloxone, an antidote for people who are overdosing on opioids like heroin.
NYTimes Mar 29, 2017

Even When Prescribed by a Doctor

Informational, 1-minute-31-second video that raises awareness about prescription opioids among the general public. Some people might think prescription opioids are safer than alcohol or illegal drugs, but the truth is they carry serious risks and side effects. Talk with your doctor about your concerns and make informed decisions about pain management together.

When Benefits Outweigh the Risks

60-second PSA for healthcare providers that features two patients beginning opioid therapy. Prescription opioids can be prescribed by doctors to treat moderate to severe pain, but can also have serious risks and side effects.

Dentists challenged to use less opiods

A 2011 study in the Journal of the American Dental Association estimates that dentists are responsible for 12 percent of prescriptions for fast-acting opioid pain relievers — just below general practitioners and internal medicine doctors as top prescribers of common opioids. Roughly 23 percent of opioids in the U.S. are used non-medically, according to the study.
Listen: NPR Feb 26, 2017

Surgeons told to stop prescribing so many painkillers

The head of general surgery at Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center had a remarkably simple idea not long ago: What if the department suggested that surgeons limit prescriptions of narcotic pain pills to a specific number for different kinds of operations?

The results were dramatic: The number of pills prescribed by doctors for five common outpatient surgeries dropped by 53 percent, and patients didn’t consume all the pills they were given, according to a study that will be published this week in the journal Annals of Surgery.

Even veteran surgeons really had no idea how many opioids to send home with their patients, said Richard J. Barth, who is chief of general surgery at the medical center in New Hampshire and led the team that conducted the study.

The goal was twofold — to prevent long-term use of the painkillers by patients and to help block diversion of the pills to illegal users, who, Barth and his colleagues said, consume as much as 71 percent of legitimately prescribed opioids. A follow-up survey of 224 patients showed that the total number of pills prescribed dropped from 6,170 before the education initiative to 2,932 afterward, a 53 percent decline. Only one patient came back for a prescription refill.
Read more : The Washington Post Mar 7, 2017

Solutions for Lower Back Pain: Be Active!

Sommer Kleweno Walley, 43, of Seattle, slipped on the stairs in her house last spring and fell down hard on her back. “After a couple of hours I could barely walk,” she said. “I was in real pain.” She saw a physical therapist, but the pain persisted. Eleven days later she saw Dr. Christopher J. Standaert, a spine specialist at the University of Washington and Harborview Medical Center, expecting an MRI. He told her an MRI would not make any difference in her diagnosis or recovery and that the main thing was to keep active. She ended up getting anti-inflammatory medication and doing physical therapy. A few months later, her back stopped hurting.  Read more…

Naloxone—A Potential Lifesaver

Naloxone can quickly restore normal breathing to someone whose breathing has slowed or stopped because they overdosed on heroin or prescription opioids, or accidentally took too much pain medication.

NPR - Heroin Epidemic in Southern Oregon

NPR reporter Liam Moriarty has a series of interviews with Dr. Jim Shames and other healthcare professionals about the alarming rise in heroin use and related overdose deaths. The addicts are not the stereotypes you might think. They are the professional next door. And many of them started by becoming dependent on opioids.

Michelle's Story

12 years ago, Michelle fell off a balcony and broke her neck. As part of her initial treatment, she was given opioids for pain. She was dependent on opioids for the next 10 years. Two years ago she was tapered off opioids completely and “got her life back.” Listen to her story.
See all the KOBI Videos about Oregon Pain Guidance

Understanding Pain

What to do about it in less than five minutes.

Guidelines from the CDC

CDC guidelines urge doctors to be more cautious when prescribing opioids, stating that over prescribing is driving an epidemic of opioid addiction. The guidelines encourage doctors to try something besides opioids when first treating pain, even suggesting ice and talk therapy. And if opioids are the best choice, start with the lowest possible dose. The guidelines also suggest that patients should ask whether they need such strong drugs to control their chronic pain.

Key messages:

  • Don’t use opioids first. Try other methods such as Tylenol, ibuprofen or ice.
  • When using opioids to treat acute pain, 3 days of medication will usually suffice.
  • Never start with the long-acting opiates and use the lowest possible dose.
  • Talk to the patient about what they can expect. 100% pain-free may not be realistic or desirable.
  • Make sure the patient knows the risks.