If you are working a program of addiction recovery, then you know that to take any mind-altering drug or drink will compromise your sobriety. Obviously, you know this applies to illegal drugs like heroin or cocaine and alcohol. But what about prescription narcotics? For some people, the answer to that question is easy, any drug, even if taken as prescribed, could be a slippery slope to a relapse. Others might answer that question depending on the circumstances.
Certainly, if you have been diagnosed with a life-threatening illness, such a cancer, protecting one’s program should not come at the expense of suffering. Severe or traumatic pain usually dictates taking an opioid to mitigate the symptoms. If the drugs are taken as prescribed, one’s program is usually considered to remain intact. However, it is worth noting that a significant number of people in recovery have experienced a minor injury, gone to the doctor and left with drugs they probably could have done without. It is no secret that doctors are often too quick and injudicious when it comes to prescribing this most deadly class of drugs.
Protecting Your Recovery
Should taking the opioid route of pain management be a decision that you and your doctor decide is warranted, certain steps should be taken to protect your recovery. In such cases, one should enlist the help of another to hold you accountable. Left to one’s own devices, it can be easy to convince oneself that taking an extra pill before you are supposed to or taking such drugs in non-prescribed ways is the same as taking a drug orally. It is not, that is your disease taking the reins.
It is usually a sound practice to turn to your sponsor or somebody in the program you are close to, that has significant recovery time. They can help dole out your medication as prescribed and as needed. In other cases, you spouse or relatives may be able to assist you with the situation. The take away here is that even if opioids are not your drug of choice, being in a position where there is a potential for abuse is never a good idea.
It’s probably impossible to quantify how many people in recovery have relapsed because their addiction convinced them that they could be responsible with prescription narcotics in their house. Even if one manages to take the drugs as prescribed there is a chance that just the taste of euphoria is enough to tip the scales and start you on the course to relapse.
Minor Pain Leading to Addiction
Everyone in recovery understands how dangerous opioids can be. How many of you have lost people to an overdose? Unfortunately, many Americans still do not fully grasp the risks of taking prescription painkillers for minor pain. A new report indicates that about seven (7) percent of emergency rooms’ patients seeking help for a sprained ankle were prescribed opioids, Science News reports. Despite a high likelihood that such drugs were unnecessary.
What’s more, a sprained ankle patient who received 30 or more pills compared to less than 15 pills, were twice as likely to fill an additional opioid prescription within three to six months. A fairly good sign that a problem has developed. Sprained ankle injuries do not last for six months.
“An even more critical aspect of this study is that many would argue that opioids should not be prescribed for ankle sprain at all,” said senior author Jeanmarie Perrone, MD, a professor of Emergency Medicine and director of Medical Toxicology. “Exposing young patients with an ankle sprain to opioids is unnecessary and risky. To limit the escalation of the opioid epidemic in this country, it’s critical to keep these medications limited to patients whose injuries absolutely require them, and limit exposure to opioids for all other patients.”
Opioids Are Often Not Worth The Risk
If opioids can hook people that have no history of addiction, the risks of relapse among recovering addicts is sure to be great. If you seek help for a minor injury and the doctor offers up opioids, please think long and heard about your answer. Please make sure your doctor knows your history before moving forward.