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What are Prescription Opioids?

Prescription opioid narcotics, also known as pain killers, are effective for short-term (acute) pain such as post-surgery or following trauma such as injuries sustained during a car accident. They are also effective at making terminally ill cancer patients more comfortable in their last days. But the medical industry, led on by pharmaceutical company marketing propaganda, made an assumption that these same drugs would also be effective at treating longer-term (chronic) noncancer pain, and so doctors were allowed (in fact heavily encouraged by the drug companies) to begin writing prescriptions for a broad spectrum of chronic noncancer pain conditions, without medical evidence that these powerful narcotics were either effective or safe for use in the long-run. The result is that we have a rapidly escalating epidemic of death and addiction, and pain patients with often reduced pain relief and various side effects over time. We need to restrict these opioids to their rightful uses.

Doctors have acknowledged receiving misinformation from drug companies about the safety and efficacy of opioids in the treatment of chronic non-cancer pain. ARPO is encouraged by many doctor groups, such as “Physicians for Responsible Opioid Prescribing”, PROP, who are also working hard to stop the epidemic of death and addiction to legally prescribed opioids.

In order to correct the problem we need to work together to expose what is really happening to patients on long term opioids. We need to reveal the facts and disregard the myths about opioids. Our language must not perpetuate stigma and bias toward those who have become addicted to opioids. Addiction is a health issue, not a moral issue, and patients are in need of support with their recovery from opioids.

Learn more about the facts and myths of prescription opioids in this brochure.