reposting/edited from the fb post b/c i’ve posted so many things since then it’s probably gonna get lost lol, and b/c it’s actually an important issue to me (considering i literally just posted about it a couple days ago on here lol). this was after i saw this episode of last week tonight on opioids:
i’ve been hearing a lot about this issue lately through talking with more med student/resident friends as i’m getting ready to get back to clinics, and it’s really concerning. things might change when i actually get on the wards and see people suffering from a lot of pain, but right now, i think those pre-1990’s doctors had it right… don’t prescribe opioids at all if possible, and if it has to be used, only use it as a very last resort, and at the lowest dose possible. this stuff is dangerous and there are countless stories of people who have become addicted because they were first given things like oxycontin and other opioid medication by doctors for their pain. i wonder how many people would prefer their opioid addiction to their pain if they knew that would be the consequence going in? there ARE other options out there to try besides medications, and i wish that people were more aware of them.
speaking of, it’s also really sad to me that he mentioned “rural areas may not have access to… mindfulness meditation” because that’s something that can literally be done alone, with no additional fees, props, doctors, medications, etc needed. the problem is education and awareness, and that’s something that needs to change. i think america, or maybe the world, in general is too used to relying on substances to numb pain (both physical and emotional) rather than truly working through the issues. Alcohol, weed, and now opioids – it’s part of a larger systemic issue where problems are just put off until another day, and you take something to help you forget or “take the edge off”. clinicians are not much better – as a population, we’re one of the highest abusers, and it’s not surprising given the time pressures and emotional struggles doctors have to go through as part of their work. but this can’t be the solution – we need to move towards a better direction.
also stuff like this always gets me really frustrated at big pharma. i understand some people who work there probably genuinely believe they are doing a good thing and helping people (i.e. helping to control their pain), but the ones who are overblowing statements and minimizing the large health risks (literally lives are at stake – not just quality of life i.e. as an addict, but also life and death situations) just for the bottom line make me sick.
anyway, i hope providers will be extremely careful and thoughtful when prescribing these drugs, and that through things like this vid, patients can become more aware that there is a risk of addiction, and use these sparingly.
honestly, i think as a whole, at least in america, we’re so fragile that and used to instant gratification that we’ve started losing our ability to experience and push through pain. i think learning to work with pain is an important thing, and too many people take the easy way out.
this is not to say that there aren’t people who actually really need and can benefit from things like pain medication. sometimes it is necessary for those in excruciating pain that is intractable. but for the most part, we need to learn to suffer better. as much as it sucks, suffering really does build character, and i think a lot of people nowadays could learn something from truly facing their pain, rather than running away from it.
i guess maybe it’s apt that we’re going through job and suffering in church right now, or maybe vice versa – maybe that’s why i’m thinking about this issue more recently.