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The use of narcotics for pain

Updated on May 18, 2014

The truth about narcotics to help pain, is that they don't help, at least not for very long, and usually not for chronic pain. Acute pain and chronic pain are very different from one another. They two different types of pain respond to different therapies, and may share common causes, and sometimes behave or misbehave very differently.

Acute pain is pain you have had for less than three months. Acute pain usually follows an injury such as a fracture, or a surgery. With reasonable treatment and it usually fades away, and in a few weeks is gone completely. It usually responds to moderate doses of opioids. Opioids, actually means the large class of drugs that have effects similar, if not the same as morphine, which comes from opium, and causes most of its effects. Narcotics is a class of materials defined by the law, by simply listing them, and includes cocaine and marijuana, which are not opioids.

Chronic pain

Chronic pain is pain that has already lasted at least three months, that makes it chronic. Chronic pain doesn't usually respond very well to opioids or narcotics. It usually does respond pretty well to conventional treatment and frequently to nutritional changes and physical conditioning or physical therapy.

In the rest of this article, I will be referring to the opioids as narcotics, even though it isn't strictly correct.

I have had shoulder surgery in July 2013, and again in October for repair of my right rotator cuff. My pain after the surgery did not respond well to the Percocet that was prescribed by my doctor. I also took Ibuprofen and Aspirin to try to alleviate my pain, honestly they seemed to work better than the Percocet from my doctor.

I finally decided to just take the Percocet during the night, because it made me sleepy anyway, which in turn helped me sleep better through the night. The rest of the time I mostly used the Ibuprofen or just put up with the pain, even if it had been unbearable at times.

I'm sure you are asking now, Why would I put up with the pain, and try to work through it? To be honest, it was more of a culture thing, due to my upbringing, I was brought up in a way that, "Okay, so it hurts, now suck it up and keep moving forward". Putting up with unpleasantness is a major virtue, and is something that had been taught to me by my parents, and their parents before them. Due to this, I have developed quite a high tolerance for pain, and I am not usually aware of unpleasantness in my body, as pain. Different culture have different values, and opinions on bearing pain. Some insist that in certain situations, it is necessary to make a racket to deal with it properly, some people like the attention and others just like the feeling that narcotics provide

I am now almost seven months out from the second surgery that I had, and I hurt quite a bit, but only some of the time, not all of the time. This unfortunately qualifies as an acute pain, which has been fading away, and I just recently took my last Percocet over 3 months ago..

Prescription Drugs

There are lots of patients with chronic pain that are always complaining that the narcotics that their primary physician had prescribed them, weren't relieving their pain. Some people get disgusted at this, and others are angry, mainly due to them still being in pain and trying to get rid of it, expecting their prescriptions to work.

The problem with using a legally classified narcotic drug for pain is that it is just plain hit or miss. Some people get a great relief from pain with a dose that is just a little bigger than the doctors or nurses are usually willing to prescribe. Occasionally the problem of "how much of a dose, is enough" is the entire problem in itself.

More often than not, the real problem is that the pain just wont respond to any amount of narcotic for more than a short amount of time. Then people will start complaining that the pain is coming back and end up having a large list of complaints about the narcotic effects, from the drugs that they have been taking. Some side effects of narcotic drugs can include nausea, severe constipation, drowsiness, upset stomach, lack of interest in sex, and more.

The list of painful problems that narcotics don't help is quite long in itself, these conditions are common and frequently talked about. They are nearly all related to various things that have lead to injuries to nerves directly. These can include spinal cord injury, peripheral nerve injury, spinal disk disease, persistent pain after any form of back surgery, Fibromyalgia, Diabetic Neuropathy and many other causes of metabolic nerve damage.

None of these respond well to narcotic drugs, in fact, most of these do not respond to narcotics at all. When the narcotics give relief to pain, it typically only lasts a little while, and then the suffering comes back, and needs more narcotic to relieve the pain, then more, then more, and then even more, until it reaches an infinitium of constantly taking narcotic drugs to alleviate pain. This is where addiction to narcotic drugs comes into play.

D.E.A. - Drug Bust - Illegal Narcotic Sales & Acquisitions.
D.E.A. - Drug Bust - Illegal Narcotic Sales & Acquisitions.

Federal Law & Illegally selling narcotics

This is where a large problem comes into play..

The federal law about narcotics is a huge problem for the people who suffer so intensely to the point that they become addicts. Providing or selling prescription drugs to anyone other than the one that the drugs had been originally prescribed for is a federal felony, which can lead to some hefty fines and a long stay in jail, or even prison. The law is what it is, and cannot be changed, even if the sufferers are caught buying prescription narcotics for their pain relief, consequences are dire, and I for one, am determined to stay out of jail.

People are constantly getting prescribed narcotics for pain relief, some people do not even need these pills are frequently stop using them, even though a prescription may stay active, and sell them on the street. Narcotic drugs can create a large and steady cash flow, or at least until you get caught by the DEA, or local law enforcement agencies. A single, 80mg Oxycontin tablet can go for anywhere between $50-$100 on the street. For someone who is on public assistance, with a months supply of 60 tablets of Oxycontin, can increase their income anywhere between $3,000 to $6,000 per month, and that is a nice heft sum, most people don't even make that working a full time job. Also, it is illegal, so of course they never tell the IRS about it, and they don't pay taxes on that earned income, pretty crazy right?

Oxycontin is has been in the news occasionally throughout the past couple of years, its been referred to as "Hillbilly Heroin" quite a few times, and is very popular with recreational drug users. Some people have died using Oxycontin, if you dive into the details about the deaths related to prescription drug use and drug addiction, you will easily see that there are two common factors; People who are prescribed Oxycontin from their doctor or primary care physician did not die, and nearly all of those people who died, had acquired their Oxycontin tablets illegally.


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