With millions of people abusing opioid painkillers throughout the country each year, there are many societal adjustments taking place to try and curb the use of these drugs. For example, there have been new laws proposed regarding the sale and distribution, there have been tighter controls placed on pharmacies and pain clinics and there have been large awareness campaigns among doctors of all types and healthcare facilities.
One new way that some doctors are trying to cut down on the availability of narcotic painkillers is through alternative pain management surrounding surgeries. According to an article in the Wall Street Journal, an emerging trend among some surgeons includes using a mixture of primarily ant-inflammatory drugs and local anesthetics before and after surgical procedures.
Although there may be short-term prescriptions for some painkillers after the surgery for possible severe pain, the total amount of opioid use is drastically reduced, by comparison. Doctors have also noted that patients have less side effects and don’t have to deal with as many symptoms that can come with opioid use. It has also been observed by orthopedists that physical therapy sessions post-surgery have been more productive since the patients aren’t as groggy from the other drugs.
This may seem like a small step for some people, but those in the drug intervention and treatment field have seen and heard way too many stories about people becoming hooked on opiates because of the painkillers given to them after a surgery. The more that doctors can do to find ways to alleviate pain while also reducing the risk of substance abuse, the better off people will be.