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POLL: More People Are Taking Opioids, Even as Their Concerns Rise

Despite a rising epidemic of opioid overdoses across the U.S., narcotic prescription painkillers continue to be the drug-of-choice for both physicians and patients. As reported by NPR, a major concern is that patients don’t seem to be questioning doctors’ choices for them, and are taking the drugs without asking whether opioids are their best option.

While opioids can serve a needed short-term purpose, such as after a serious surgery or severe injury, the fact is that they are overprescribed — and subsequently making the situation ripe for addiction and death. Since 1999, opioid overdose deaths have quadrupled, and that should be cause for action.

As a side effect, when people addicted to narcotics become desperate for more after their prescription runs out, they often turn to heroin, causing heroin use to reach a 20-year high. (In fact, a joint report by the CDC and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) revealed that the vast majority — 75 percent — of heroin users started out on prescription painkillers.)

If you’re in severe pain not caused by a recent surgery or injury, you need to see a pain specialist who is familiar with alternative treatments and the underlying causes of pain. This practitioner should be knowledgeable in ways of attacking your pain, including implementing medical marijuana — cannabidiol (CBD) in cannabis — as a therapeutic option.

Cannabis is a vastly underutilized therapeutic option that has been wrongly vilified by U.S. regulatory agencies. In truth, the human endocannabinoid system — endo meaning "within" — strongly suggests we are designed to make good use of the cannabis plant. That’s why, by bringing tissues back into balance, cannabinoids can reduce pain, nerve stimulation causing seizures and muscle spasm.
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