From Dr. Waldron: Disturbing news regarding OxyContin
On Thursday, Aug. 13, the Food and Drug Administration announced that it has approved limited use of the powerful painkiller OxyContin for children as young as 11 years old.
According to an NBC News report, Dr. Sharon Hertz, director of new anesthesia, analgesia and addiction products for the FDA, said studies by Purdue Pharma of Stamford, Connecticut, which manufactures the drug, “supported a new pediatric indication for OxyContin in patients 11 to 16 years old and provided prescribers with helpful information about the use of OxyContin in pediatric patients.”
While there may be serious situations where this type of drug may be necessary for children — the FDA references trauma and surgery — here’s why this is a bad idea. As the NBC report notes, OxyContin is a long-release version of oxycodone, an opioid that acts on the brain like heroin and is intended for only the most severe and chronic pain cases. Because oxycodone and other opioids are extremely powerful and highly addictive, they’re very tightly regulated — and very popular with addicts and pill pushers.
According to government statistics, rates of prescription opiate abuse have risen steadily over the last decade, while the number of people reporting that they used heroin in the past 12 months has nearly doubled since 2007 to 620,000. This New York Times article published in 2014 notes that “more people than ever now get a taste of opiates at a young age, and recovering addicts live in a world with far more temptations than there were a generation ago.”
The newspaper adds that “for some patients, prescription painkillers can act as an introduction — or a reintroduction — to an opiate high. The pills set off heroin craving in recovering addicts, doctors say, every bit as well as they soothe withdrawal in current users.”
“Dr. Jason Jerry, an addiction specialist at the Cleveland Clinic’s Alcohol and Drug Recovery Center, estimates that half of the 200 or so heroin addicts the clinic sees every month started on prescription opiates,” the article said.
The hard truth is that doctors have prescribed too many opiates, in larger amounts than necessary and they get into the wrong hands. This move to allow prescriptions for children provides a wider net for distribution and more opportunity for abuse.
Last November, we noted that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) spotlighted the lethal epidemic of opioid painkiller prescribing and importance of appropriate preventive action by federal and state bodies. Included online are several methods to prevent overprescribing and increase patients’ accessibility to effective, drug-free treatment options for pain relief.
Each day, 46 people die from an overdose of prescription painkillers in the U.S., the CDC said.
Chiropractic care is an evidence-based, drug-free approach for common health concerns and pain relief. Evidence confirms that the care provided by a doctor of chiropractic is often linked with better clinical outcomes, greater patient satisfaction and noteworthy cost savings.
A plethora of reports, including, “Never Only Opioids: The Imperative for Early Integration of Non-Pharmacological Approaches and Practitioners in the Treatment of Patients with Pain” support the early use of drug-free care for pain relief.
If you are experiencing aches and pains, call our office at 425-778-9600. We may be able to help you feel better — without prescription drugs.
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