Risk for Addiction Compared to Alternatives

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Every medical treatment has risks. Fill a prescription and it will come with an insert that lists risks of using the medication. Go to physical therapy, show up for a diagnostic procedure or lab work, and you’ll be given either a verbal or written list of potential risks and complications. For sure if the procedure involves penetrating the skin you’ll be given a written consent form to sign.

This is called informed consent and by signing it you’re saying you’ve been informed about the potential risks and complications, that you’ve had all your questions answered and you accept the risks.

The real question is, have you? Have you had all your questions answered, honestly, fully? Have you been given rational data and information which allows you to weigh the risks and make a choice that is consistent with your best interest?

How many of us ask doctors, “What are the odds of having this complication listed here on this form?”

So what are the facts? Every “major” treatment widely accepted by the healthcare community, has been tested extensively to answer these questions. This is a requirement of the FDA for use in humans.

There are large amounts of data and statistics, most of which can be Googled in a matter of minutes. So if you’re not getting an answer that ends in facts or a yes, you’re not getting an answer at all, you’re getting a dodge designed to hide other motivations.

When a doctor punts an answer back to you that is dismissive, a non-answer answer, what are they saying? They’re saying, I don’t want to be honest with you because it’s not in my best interest. An honest doctor can always say, I don’t know. What’s in a doctor’s best interest? He/she want a relationship with a patient that is risk-free and pays on time. But it’s the perception of risk-free that is under attack today.

The anti-abuse forces have failed in their efforts to stem the flow of illegal drugs into this country. They have failed to stop the spread of drug abuse in our communities. And although they have dealt a serious blow to the pill mills and indiscriminate prescribing problems, they remain frustrated, afraid and weary. Blindly uncaring about the consequences, they’re going after the remaining low hanging fruit; medical use of psychoactive substances and why, because there’s an established regulatory process that can be exploited and manipulated. For others who are both immoral and unethical, it’s an opportunity to profit and advance.

If you’re a CPP it’s not always easy but a little time and effort can arm you with information to defeat any irrational statement.

Risks associated with the use of opiates are real, no one denies this, but the anti-opiate zealots, who are shouting louder than the CPP community, are not providing all the facts and the one’s they do provide are often based on bad data or taken out of context.

It took me about ten minutes to look up these risk factors for  medical procedures. I’ve included some common surgical procedures as well as alternative treatments for opiates, just for comparison.

Next time someone jumps on the anti-opiate rhetoric bandwagon, shouting about the risk of addiction, you can quote these risk factors.

Procedure / Medication Risk


Addiction from prescribed opiates


Overdose from prescribed opiates (Ohio and includes multiple drug use, not just opiates)


Cholecystectomy Complications


Appendectomy Complications


Failure/complications from antibiotic treatment


Death (suicide or other) from antidepressants


Complications from Epidurals


·      Spinal fluid leaks


·      Spinal headaches


·      Adhesive arachnoiditis


·      Intravascular injections/stroke


·      Unlisted permanent risks – paraplegia, hematoma and loss of limb function


Acetaminophen-related adverse events


·      Female


·      Unintentional


·      Liver toxicity


·      Deaths


Spinal Cord Stimulators


·      Failure to provide benefits


·      Infections


·      Procedure Complications, infection, etc.


·      Cerebrospinal fluid leak or hematoma



Our job as consumers is to educate ourselves so that we’re not sold something we don’t need or has risks associated with it which in fact, we’re unwilling to accept and live with.

We must be bold enough, smart enough, to know when to call it BS.

The only people I meet who buy into the anti-opiate rhetoric are those who are ill-informed, closed-minded to anything other than their point of view. They don’t argue with facts, they simply argue.

They can be spotted easily by trying to engage them in a debate on the facts. Confront them and before you know it, THEY’RE SHOUTING AT YOU, RAGING WITH IRRATIONAL STATEMENTS,  REPEATING THE STATEMENTS BECAUSE THEY HAVE NO FACTS TO BACK UP WHAT THEY’RE SAYING.

Don’t swing at a dirtball from someone with unfocused rage, simply arm yourself with good facts, make your point, walk away, then call your Congressman and Senator, giving them the facts.