The Signs and Symptoms of Prescription Opioid Abuse

When a medical doctor prescribes an opioid painkiller to help you or someone you love manage back pain, you probably don’t think about the drug’s addictive effects such as physical dependency, abuse, or even death.

However, you might want to think again.

Addiction to prescription opiate pain medications such as OxyContin has reached such epidemic proportions in the U.S., that the President’s Commission on Combating Drug Addiction has called for the White House to declare a “national emergency” to combat the enormous toll opioid use and abuse is taking on the country.


Adding credibility to the seriousness of the opioid epidemic is former commissioner of the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) David A. Kessler, who has criticized the agency he once oversaw for failing to foresee the crisis, “It has proved to be one of the biggest mistakes in modern medicine.”

These signs will help you detect opioid abuse in yourself or a loved one:
• Constipation
• Nausea
• Drowsiness
• Confusion
• Poor coordination
• Increased pain with higher doses

So what are you to do if you’re a pain sufferer?

With both the FDA and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommending non-pharmacologic alternatives to opioids, one option to note is drug-free chiropractic care, which has gotten high marks from patients for dealing with neuro-musculoskeletal issues like low-back and neck pain.

Doctors of chiropractic, who are highly educated and trained in the structure and function of the human body, use hands-on techniques to help enhance flexibility, muscle strength and range of motion. Most insurance and health plans cover its use.

“If you recognize yourself in those symptoms,” says Dr. Sherry McAllister of the Foundation for Chiropractic Progress, “don’t be embarrassed to first talk to your prescriber, and then seek out a local chiropractor.”

For more info on the Foundation’s opioid abuse campaign or to find a nearby a doctor of chiropractic, visit

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