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Prescribed Into Addiction

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Prescribed Into Addiction

Our family will always wonder if a holistic approach to his back pain could have saved my brother from being a statistic of the opiate overdose epidemic. My brother, Jeremy, was one of over 125,000 people who have lost their life since 2000, to the epidemic of opiate overdoses. There are dozens of safe alternative treatments for chronic back pain that do not involve taking medication or having an operation. We will struggle the rest of our lives wondering if tried holistic treatment if he would still be with us.
Jeremy broke his back skateboarding, when he was in 11th grade, which was the first time doctors prescribed painkillers. At that time, we were unaware of how dangerous prescription painkillers can be and how easy it is to become addicted. An alternative could be physical therapy, chiropractic treatment or medical massage. These treatments can be just as effective. Jeremy was a dare-devil, who never was afraid of any physical challenges whether it was skateboarding, snowboarding or many other sports. These sports lead to a lot of injuries and more painkillers. He was a Union Carpenter, which is hard physical labor, and it added to his pain. His biggest motto was no matter what you do to work. No matter the pain that he was in, he would go to work. Physical therapist should teach exercises to make his back stronger, than he would suffer less and not become addicted to painkillers.
By the time he was 25, he was in a lot of physical pain, especially his back. Also, his arms started to go numb from all the pain from his back. He went to a doctor who prescribed 180 Vicodin and 180 Valium for one month. Several other physicians have confirmed that number was very irresponsible of the doctor. After he got that script his life spiraled out of control. Starting by getting into to a car accident from all the pills that he was on, they caused him to fall asleep at the wheel. He broke his back a second time in the accident. The accident was a near death experience for him. Unfortunately, it was not a wakeup call for him. As with most addicts, he was in denial. After this accident, my family and I were starting to suspect something was seriously wrong.
Jeremy’s doctor was prescribing painkillers that were masking his pain, rather than using alternative methods to treat the cause of the pain. I feel our society is too often looks for the quick fix. We want to get rid of pain as quickly as possible, and we are not repairing the damage that is causing the pain. The longer you are on painkillers the less effective they become; you need to increase the dose to get pain relief. Painkillers are extremely addictive. A person can become addicted in only 9 days. The side effects of painkillers impact the body. Masking the pain, the brain is not being alerted to repair the body. With the help of physical therapist and trainer, you will be able to heal your injured body to a natural state of pain free. This can be a mental battle as it can be a rough and painful road, but it is much healthier on your body then using painkillers.
Holistic treatment improves the quality of life and physical activity for people with chronic pain. Unlike mainstream, medicine, holistic treatment does not use painkillers. Daily activities are difficult for people in chronic pain. As a result of the pain, it can lead to depression, complications from drugs and poor quality of life. Chronic pain, the long-term suffering and disability of patients are not always relieved by medications, injections or surgery.
June 4, 2009, was a day like any other in the summer. It was in the afternoon I got a text from my friend, saying sorry to hear about your brother, I was clueless about what she was talking about. Then we got a knock on the door it was a police officer. He was there to confirm my worst fears. It hit me like a train I was in so much shock that it was very hard for me to cry. That was the first time I saw my dad cry. He was not one to show emotion on the outside. The previous week they worked together it was terrible for him.
A week later, I was giving a speech at my only sibling’s memorial service. The speech was one of the hardest things that I had to do for my brother. I still felt I was in a dream or something. It just did not seem possible that this could be true. It was so hard seeing all the people, over 400 that showed up for my brother’s memorial service. I wish that he could have seen how many people cared about him.
Since my brother’s death, my family has vowed to turn a negative into a positive. We know this is what my brother would have wanted. I'm doing all that I can do to improve my life in honor of my brother. I started to follow my dream of movie making and going to school to better myself. My father quit smoking in his honor. To save other lives, my mom is an advocate to bring attention to the opiate overdose epidemic.
Opiates overdoses are an epidemic they account for more than 20,000 deaths a year. I Prescription drug overdoses are now the leading cause of accidental deaths in the United States. According to the CDC they account for about three-quarters of all overdose deaths. Since 1999, the number of scripts written for painkillers has quadrupled and so have the number of deaths from painkillers, also known as opioids.
In the late 1990’s, there was a big push to prescribe more painkillers. This was partially due to Big Pharma misleading the medical community and the public, stating that these opiate painkillers were not that addictive.
Some pharmaceutical companies even claimed that if a person were in pain, he or she could not become addicted. When the FDA rescheduled Vicodin as a less restrictive class III drug instead of a Class II, the number of scripts rose 170%. Doctors need to warn patients of the dangers of becoming addicted.
There are many things that can be done to stop this epidemic. These meds need to be monitored more, I think the biggest way to help, is if we make then as hard to get as getting Sudafed. They need to have a system that can be fool-proof. The FDA has taken a step in the right direction they have reclassified Vicodin as a class II drug. A lot of work needs to be done to educate the public and reduce the stigma of drug addiction. They are working to make Narcan available to all first responders. Narcan reverses an opiate overdose.
I never imagined that I would lose my brother, at such a young age. We were very close even though we were 5 years apart. I have great empathy and compassion for all the other families that lost a loved one to due to a prescription overdose. We are losing too many lives to the disease of addiction. It saddens our family that so many lives could be saved by better education for doctors about opiate painkillers. Also if physicians would use the safer holistic treatments it would save lives. I hope by sharing this personal story and facts on the dangers of prescription drugs, to save lives. If we educate more people about the dangers of prescription drugs and benefits of holistic treatment, we can help put a stop to this epidemic. Also, we hope with all this information it can prevent a family from having to go through the same tragedy and wonder about their loved one.

References

Retrieved from: http://www.webmd.com/vitamins-and-supplements/lifestyle-guide-11/chronic-pain-relief

Retrieved from: http://www.pressherald.com/news/Fed_UP__Rally_in_Washington_calls_for_federal_action_further_restricting_painkillers_.html…...

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