Everyone knows there is an Opioid Epidemic, but what continues to surprise me is the abundance of legally prescribed opioid use. From my own experience and from the voices of clients, it happens frequently that people are offered and even encouraged to use opioids for problems small and large.
Of course, there are situations that may call for the appropriate use of opiates, but it seems to me that general practitioners often overprescribe this class of medications even when patients don’t ask for them.
The linked npr article shows that 57% of people polled had used opioids, up 7% from the same poll in 2011. With the public awareness increasing around the opioid epidemic it is baffling that this number is increasing, rather than decreasing. As cited there are guidelines for primary care physicians that should be followed for general use. But unfortunately for those in recovery the responsibility is still on the patient to disclose their recovery status and be assertive in requesting alternatives, not a simple feat especially when sick and/or in pain.
Our recommendations- make sure you are prepared for these conversations and circumvent these conversations by telling your providers that you are in recovery. Additionally, working with a Primary Care Physician who has an understanding of addiction and a willingness to support you in recovery is crucial.