The most crucial thing you need to know before you fill that Rx

Dear Reader,

There aren’t too many things you can buy that don’t come with complete instructions — usually in five different languages!

A friend, for example, ordered a bird feeder to attach to her window with suction cups… something that’s pretty intuitive, don’t you think?

Not according to the manufacturer that shipped it from China, as it included several pages of directions covering everything from how to unpack the parts to cleaning the window!

But it seems that when it counts the most, you’re not given any information. Case in point: opioid drugs — especially when they’re prescribed to seniors.

A new study by researchers at the University of Michigan Institute for Healthcare Policy and Innovation has found that those over a certain age are pretty much on their own when it comes to knowing the dangers involved in taking those meds.

And many seniors fall under the category of the “opioid naive,” meaning that the Rx they’ve been given is likely their very first experience with these extremely risky meds.

It would be like taking someone who’s never been on a boat before and having them set sail across the sea… all alone.

There’s no reason, however, for anyone — especially the most vulnerable! — to be cast adrift on this turbulent opioid ocean.

Because when it comes to these kinds of drugs, what you don’t know really can hurt you.

A perfect storm

America’s opioid epidemic is turning gray.

Experts are now saying that opioid use actually declined in people 18 to 25 years old during the last decade, but it’s practically doubled in those over 50. These are folks who have lived through decades of aches and pains and accidents, yet they’ve mostly managed to reach their golden years unscathed by drug addiction.

And a big part of this problem appears to be how fast and loose Medicare plays when paying for opioid drugs.

While that program will foot the bill for buckets and buckets of these addictive meds, it appears to cut the cord at the point of paying for treatment and recovery from an opioid addiction… or even for the drugs that are prescribed to wean people off of them!

You’re on your own.

All of this creates the perfect storm for putting seniors in jeopardy and makes this new study even more frightening.

The Michigan research team discovered that seniors are being prescribed these drugs with no real directions aside from how many to take each day. And as I mentioned, a lot of patients fall into the category of being unaware of just how easy it is to cross the fine line that will put their lives in danger.

The study found that some of the vital details not being told to seniors include: just how dangerous these meds are, why and how to use as few of them as possible, when to use a non-opioid drug, and even what to do with leftover pills.

The researchers also called it “critically important” for doctors to provide any patient who gets an opioid drug with a “detailed plan.”

Well, my plan may not be very detailed, but I think it also will help.

Don’t let your doctor prescribe you any kind of opioid!

I know that it’s difficult during those 10-minute (if that!) office visits with your doc to not only talk about your problem, but then to start asking questions about any prescriptions you may be given. But knowing exactly what you’re being told to take is essential. The opioid trap can ensnare you faster than you could ever imagine.

And once you’re in it, trying to get yourself out can be an incredibly long and difficult ordeal.

That’s why you’ve got to protect yourself and your loved ones by making sure to find out from your doctor or pharmacist if that Rx you’re filling is for an opioid.

If it is, ask your doctor for another option. Or better yet, try a drug-free method of controlling the pain.

Safe and effective remedies include treatments such as acupuncture and chiropractic, physical therapy, and even massage. Arnica, used as a topical cream or homeopathic under-the-tongue pill, has been found to be very useful in treating arthritis pain.

As I’ve often said, only when more and more patients start saying “No” to taking opioid drugs will this epidemic finally start to loosen its grip on America.

To Knowing the Real Story,

Melissa Young