It’s a late night talk show joke about doctors: take two pills and call me in the morning. When two pills become four, then six, then eight, it’s no longer a laughing matter.
“It’s on the cover of Time magazine, it’s all over the news,” Dr. Peter Phillips of Phillips Chiropractic and Wellness Clinic said. “Even the President is talking about it. As a society, when we’re in pain, we’ve become geared to look for an answer in a bottle.”
The quick fix a pill provides, in addition to an aging population that experiences more aches and pains than it once did, led to a rise in opioid use. When generic opioids hit the market, and the price began to drop, the prescriptions began to rise.
“When they started getting lower in price, there was more use and abuse,” Phillips said. “More and more people in our country, 64 percent, will experience a major episode of lower back pain in their lifetime. And they deal with that pain with opioids.”
Opioids are controlled substances that help alleviate pain. Legal opioids, such as oxycodone (OxyContin), hydrocodone (Vicodin), and codeine, are available by prescription. Heroin is also considered an opioid.