The United States Department of Health and Human Services estimates that more than 650,000 opioid prescriptions are written each day. Averaging 30 to 200 tablets apiece, that means upwards of 130 million pills are prescribed every day. In correlation, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention report that more than three out of five drug overdose deaths involve opioids. Recognizing their tremendous threat, the surgeon general in 2016 declared the opioid abuse epidemic is a huge problem. It’s one that only dedicated physicians can bring to an end.
No one likes pain, especially recurring or chronic pain that just will not go away. Our first reflex when we feel pain is to do whatever it takes to make the pain go away. This impulse to stop the pain is much stronger than our desire to understand the cause of the pain. We think first about eliminating the pain and then find out what may have caused it.