#ConsiderMyPain 

 

The Real Truth About The Opioid Epidemic + What All Affected By CP Need To Know

 

Learn About Opioids, Addiction, and Eye-Opening Stats + Facts

That Matter To You + Your Family 

Perhaps it's the Gemini duality of my astrological sign (I swear, I'm, a good witch!...a little Gemini humor...), but I've never seen anything in life in black and white. I earnestly believe that most of life and the judgments we put on those living it can only be objectively seen in shades of gray. I understand it's a bold statement for some. Religion, law, and politics are avid proponents of dichotomous thinking and though I understand their place in our society, I also think it can be dangerous. Yes, dangerous. 

 

We've all heard the idiom: Before you judge a man (or woman), walk a mile in his (her) shoes. But do most of us practice empathy any longer? Very few of us do...and it's never been more apparent than today, in the age of the internet and its evil twin, social media- where opinions, judgments, and thoughtless words are carelessly tossed around. Nevertheless, the fact remains until you've walked in someone else's shoes, it's almost impossible to know how you would react or what choices you would make. Frankly, until you've experienced a situation for yourself, you don't know how you would react or what choices you would make.

 

Here's an example in which I learned this truth:

 

I began working with children at the age of 16 for our local YMCA. My positions ranged from an afterschool counselor to a camp director. When you work in a formal setting with children, you're required to know CPR. Year after year, we would be required to obtain certification from our hometown Red Cross. The premise of repeated certification is referred to as, "spaced education."

 

During my recertifications, I couldn't help but wonder...would I really be able to do this in real life? As it turns out...I would get the opportunity to find out 15-years later. 

 

It was at that moment I realized unless you've been through it you just don't know if you'd choose it. 

Before my Dad was diagnosed with brain cancer, he suffered a hemorrhagic stroke in our home during Christmas time. We woke up to my Stepmom screaming for help from our guest room at 3 am. We called 911 and followed their instructions to move him to the floor and begin CPR. I climbed on top of my Dad and immediately began chest compressions. It came naturally, instinctively- so much so that I realized I was well into the first cycle of CPR before the 911 operator finished his instructions as to how to begin and administer it. My mind was quickly cycling through millions of thoughts as I was compressing his chest...but it was as though my body didn't need my mind to tell it what to do. It was muscle memory at it's finest. 

 

 

But why was I the one to spring into action when everyone else ran out of the room?

Honestly, I would have never bet I would have been the one to remain calm enough to help. If given the hypothetical situation, I could have guaranteed I would be the one running around like a chicken with its head cut off. 

 

It was at that moment I realized unless you've been through it you just don't know if you'd choose it. 

 

The truth of the matter is, we're all guilty of being unempathetic - think about how many times you've said, "Ohmigosh, I would NEVER do that!" after hearing about a choice someone made - on the news, in your office or within your family or group of friends. But why are we so quick to judge? Human nature perhaps? Absolutely. But I believe there's another component - We've been taught to do so. 

 

In many ways, dichotomous thinking helps society maintain order. At first glance, it's neat, organized, logical... practical. Good or bad. Rich or poor. Smart or stupid. Nice or mean. Right or wrong. It allows us to categorize, group and label life's clutter. And decluttering... reduces anxiety.  

 

Kit Yarrow, Consumer Psychologist, Author and,  Speaker, eloquently discusses this idea in an article she wrote for Money Magazine, entitled, The Science of How Marketers (and Politicians) Manipulate Us.

 

"There are few absolutes in life. In advertising and politics, however, the world is often presented as yes or no, black or white, good or bad, for or against."

 

"Our minds are most comfortable with the simplicity of what’s called dichotomous thinking, in which it’s easy to pick one brand or political party over another because the choice is presented as uncomplicated and clear. You know the messages—buy this brand and your troubles will disappear, a vote for some politician will spell certain doom for the country, and so on. By distorting the complexities of a situation into an either/or equation, the choice feels simpler and easier. Labeling, overgeneralizing, and meaningless platitudes are common techniques to achieve this type of distortion."

 

We fall for it because easy, clear choices reduce the anxiety of not knowing, of a world that’s shades of gray rather than black and white. Anxiety worsens when we struggle with complicated decisions, so we secretly crave the simplicity of easy dichotomies."

 

If we fail to see the shades of gray in life, in the situations that are, in fact, complex...and apply sweeping generalizations, we dehumanize, stigmatize and demoralize our fellow human being. 

 

So what's the big deal? 

In action, large-scale, black and white thinking looks like President Trump's immigration policy tragedy. Now you see the danger? 

 

If we fail to see the shades of gray in life, in the situations that are, in fact, complex...and apply sweeping generalizations, we dehumanize, stigmatize and demoralize our fellow human beings. 

 

Unfortunately, chronic pain sufferers are the latest casualty of this notion.  ​

We've ALL heard of the "war on opioids." Thanks to the media, the government and a NEVERENDING stream of contending confusing and biased information, we have been groomed to instantly and unfairly judge the word, "opiate." 

 

Before I go ANY further, here's what you need to know about me: 

 

1. One of the most important people in my life is a recovering addict....and I'm not talking about a Pez Candy addiction, ya know?

 

I would do ANYTHING to protect them. I would do ANYTHING to prevent them from having readily available substances that could threaten their sobriety. Furthermore, in NO way shape or form do I minimize, negate or undermine an addict's ongoing, exhaustive fight for sobriety. It's absolutely agonizing watching someone you love struggle with such a horrible disease- and must be absolutely, downright exasperating continually contending with it - regardless of if they're in recovery or not.  

 

2. Yes. Kairos Chronic Pain Coaching is committed to helping chronic pain sufferers and their families navigate through the confusing and often, challenging labyrinth of secondary effects of chronic pain by educating, supporting, guiding and arming our clients with holistic, integrative, non-pharmacologic coping techniques - also referred to as CAM (complementary and alternative medicine). Though the medical community has combined the terms complementary and alternative, CAM is used alongside conventional medicine, whereas alternative medicine is used in place of conventional medicine. 

 

Founder, IWLC and fellow CP sufferer, Christina H Chororos knows what it is like to struggle every day in a body that has failed you. It is for this reason, Christina is an advocate of a combination of wide-ranging therapies - if this means that one of them is responsibly and vigilantly taking an appropriate amount of pain medication, then that decision should be left to you and your physician. 

3. I think we can all agree that pain medication shouldn't be the first line of defense for most treatment plans. In other words, does a sprained ankle or root canal justify powerful painkillers for 2 weeks? Probably not. I personally believe this is where we, as a society, got into trouble - the overprescribing of pain medication. 

 

4. Christina H Chororos is NOT a licensed physician.

 

Though I have spent close to a decade learning about chronic pain and it's various pain management therapies, it is vital that the following information is not used as medical advice. The following is meant for educational purposes and though it can be used to help you ask appropriate questions to your physician, it should not be used to change or self-manage your current treatment plan without your doctor's consent.  

 

5. I truly, earnestly, wholeheartedly believe that ANY life negatively impacted because of opiates is valuable. Period.

 

 

#ConsiderMyPain: Two Meanings, One Goal. 

 

What does the following list of people have in common?

 

Chronic pain sufferers. Addicts. Newborn infants. Spouses/partners. Children. Parents. Extended family. Siblings. Grandparents. Physicians. First responders. Friends.

Each one has been impacted by opiates in America. 

 

We can expand the reach by mentioning the medical community, employers, insurance agencies, politicians, neighbors, schools, and so on. 

In other words, if you live in America today, you know someone directly or indirectly that has been affected by either prescription pain medication or illicit opiate use. 


 

#ConsiderMyPain Campaign

Regardless of its interchangeable use, KCPC hopes that the #ConsiderMyPain Campaign becomes synonymous with compassion, empathy, respect, teamwork, and communication when discussing pain...of any kind.  

You would have to be numb inside and out to watch a video of a "withdrawal baby" going through detox during its first hours, days and weeks on this earth and not feel impassioned. In my opinion, these are the greatest of victims... but they're not the only ones. ​

 

The truth of the matter is, everyone has skin in this game. Everyone has a perspective that seems worse than another. Everyone carries pain - be it physical, mental, emotional or spiritual. 

 

It's important we help one another see those differences in perspective because only then can we begin to understand each other's pain.  

 

 

My wheelhouse is chronic pain and grief. 

Speaking outside of that would be irresponsible. 

And so this space shares how the opiate "war" has affected (and stands to further impact) our lives. But in no way does it minimize ALL of our struggles. 

 

Originally, the #ConsiderMyPain Campaign was developed to ask that each of us invested in the  "opioid war" compassionately imagine the unique perspectives and daily pain endured by one another, so, when seeking a solution to the opioid epidemic, all groups are protected...not just one.

 

With that said, it quickly became clear that the #ConsiderMyPain Campaign could also ask each of us to compassionately imagine the unique perspectives and daily pain endured by one another. We don't know what someone else's pain feels like...however, by considering someone else's pain before we assume, judge, or react will only help us become a more empathetic society.

 

Regardless of its interchangeable use, KCPC hopes that the #ConsiderMyPain Campaign becomes synonymous with compassion, empathy, respect, teamwork, and communication when discussing pain...of any kind. 

Being in chronic pain is a plight in and of itself. Unless you have experienced the frustration, devastation, stigmatization and, desperation of living life in a body that has failed you, doubting our daily struggle is careless. Furthermore, negating the fact that we too are victims of this war, is heartless.

 

Our society is quick to judge. If you don't look to be in pain, how much pain can you really be in? Conversely, if you express too much pain, you're doing it for attention, or medication.

 

Do you remember the game you used to play as a kid where you either smack someone else's forearm with two fingers or twisted their forearm until they screamed, "mercy!"? Okay, this was before iPhone's and iPads so go with me on this. 

 

Perhaps it seems weird, BUT, it was an extremely interesting concept.  Why? Because as children we are trying to measure someone else's threshold of pain. Because as children we are trying to understand what pain looks and feels like on someone else while comparing it to ours. In fact, kids usually watch their friends go first and say, "oh come on...that can't hurt that bad?!" 

 

This concept follows us into adulthood. Men struggle to understand a woman's labor pains and women feverishly attempt to explain it. So much so that medicine attempts to recreate labor pains. The YouTube hit group "The Try Guys" have one of the funniest and intense childbirth simulations I've ever seen. If you're interested in laughing click here.  TruTV's resident funny guys, "Impractical Jokers," are another group of hilarious offbeat men that attempt to relate to childbirth, leaving you with a stomachache from laughing so hard. Click here to keep laughing. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The #ConsiderMyPain Campaign premise invites each of us to

compassionately imagine the unique perspectives and daily pain endured by one another. We don't know what someone else's pain feels like...however, by considering someone else's pain before we assume, judge, or react will only help us become a more empathetic society.  

 

 

#ConsiderMyPain

But in all seriousness, being in pain is perceived as being weak - a misconception that couldn't be any further from the truth. It takes grit to be in pain. It takes a strong, relentless, persistent, willful spirit to keep going in the face of pain. 

 

So join us, to share your story, your strength, your perspective...your pain - your mental, emotional, physical or spiritual pain. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

No One Can Dispute That There Has Been A Rise In Opioid Use, Misuse, Abuse + Opioid-Related Deaths. 

#ConsiderMyPain Doesn't Either. 

 

#ConsiderMyPain

Promotes a Shift In Perspective by Asking Those Affected, Passionate + Involved in The Opioid Epidemic Do His or Her Part By ...   

 

  • Acknowledging, empathizing, and, respecting, those affected by The Opioid Epidemic.

  • Contributing and cooperating while we, as a country, find a better solution to helping those negatively and tragically touched by The Opioid Epidemic.

AND YET...

  • Actively advocate for a chronic pain sufferer's right to opt for and access a treatment plan that includes responsibly incorporating opioid pain medication to help live in a body that has failed.  

 

So, Follow, Like, Tweet, Connect, Share + Join Us...

to Become Part of a Movement that Seeks to Find a Solution

With One Another, For One Another.

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Facts Are Facts.

 

The National Institutes of Health (NIH) found that pain affects more Americans than diabetes, heart disease and cancer combined, with 25.8 million Americans, 16.3 million Americans, 11.9 million Americans respectively. 

 

The National Institutes of Health also found that pain is cited as the most common reason Americans access the health care system. It is a leading cause of disability and it is a major contributor to health care costs. ****

 

Mismanaged chronic pain can contribute to less sleep, exhaustion, more stress, relationship and work problems and psychological distress.

 

Opioids are synthetic substances that act on opioid receptors to produce morphine-like effects. Medically they are primarily used for pain relief, including anesthesia. Opioids include medications like Percocet, Vicodin, OxyContin and Fentanyl. 

 

"The Opioid Crisis," a name given by the US Surgeon General, began with the over-prescription of opioid pain relievers in the 1990's. As such, they have become the most prescribed class of medications in the United States. Other surnames include The Opioid War, The Opioid Crisis, and The Opioid Epidemic not to be confused with The Opium Wars. 

 

In March 2016, the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) released newly developed prescribing guidelines which seeks to restrict the availability of opioid pain medication. 

"Section 4305 of the 2010 Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act required the Secretary, Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), to enter into an agreement with the IOM for activities “to increase the recognition of pain as a significant public health problem in the United States.” Accordingly, HHS, through the National Institutes of Health (NIH), requested that the IOM conduct a study to assess the state of the science regarding pain research, care, and education and to make recommendations to advance the field..." [1]

However, a recent report by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the very agency that vehemently sought to decrease the availability of pain medication, documented a disturbing trend in suicides in the United States. Suicides increased by 24 percent from 1999 to 2014, and are now the 10th leading cause of death in the country.

 

In 2014, nearly 43,000 Americans committed suicide, over twice the number of deaths that have been linked to opioid overdoses. Most often suicides are blamed on depression, mental illness, financial problems, or drug and alcohol abuse. Untreated chronic pain is rarely even mentioned.

 

But in recent months there have been a growing number of anecdotal reports of pain patients killing themselves because they can no longer get pain medication or find doctors willing to treat them.

 

To read the full article, please click here

 

And yet, the very first underlying principle stated in the report released by the very agency seeking to restrict pain medication states, "Effective pain management is a moral imperative, a professional responsibility, and the duty of people in the healing professions." [2]

 

Contending, contradictory thoughts anyone? 

 

But in recent months there have been a growing number of anecdotal reports of pain patients killing themselves because they can no longer get pain medication or find doctors willing to treat them(3)

Cited Articles:

[1], [2] “Read ‘Relieving Pain in America: A Blueprint for Transforming Prevention, Care, Education, and Research’ at NAP.edu.” National Academies Press: OpenBook, www.nap.edu/read/13172/chapter/2#2.

Suicide + Chronic Pain: The Tragic Truth + Data.

 

The Silent Killer of The Opioid Epidemic NO ONE Is Talking About...

A recent population-based study used data on nearly 5,700 adults representative of the U.S. population to investigate pain and suicide. The findings?

29% of the subjects had chronic pain, back or neck pain, frequent or severe headaches, or other non-arthritis pain.

All of these conditions “were consistently related to suicidality," with chronic severe headaches having the strongest association.

 

People with chronic headaches were 4.3 times more likely than those without such headaches to think about suicide, 4.6 times more likely to plan suicide, and 6.5 times more likely to have attempted suicide in the previous 12 months.

 

Those with “other” chronic pain also were more likely than those without such pain to have thought about (2.5 times as likely), planned (3.5 times), and attempted (6.2 times) suicide.

 

#ConsiderMyPain

2019 Kairos Chronic Pain Coaching, LLC 

Cited Articles:

Citation: 2 Pain as a Public Health Challenge." Institute of Medicine. 2011. Relieving Pain in America: A Blueprint for Transforming Prevention, Care, Education, and Research. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/13172.

The risk of suicide among people with chronic pain appears to be about double that of control groups, with the lifetime prevalence of suicide attempts by chronic pain sufferers ranging from 5 to 14 percent in various studies.

 

#considermypain

2019 Kairos Chronic Pain Coaching

...Ilgen and colleagues determined that veterans with severe pain were one-third more likely to die by suicide than those without pain or with only mild or moderate pain. 

 

#considermypain

2019 Kairos Chronic Pain Coaching 

 

The Opioid War: Don't Chronic Pain Sufferers Matter?

 

A 2006 review of the literature found 8 suicide risk factors for people in chronic pain.

 

Pain-related factors included:

- Type 

- Intensity

- Duration of Pain 

- and Insomnia

 

Psychological factors included:

- Helplessness and Hopelessness About Pain

- The Desire to Escape From Pain

- Pain Catastrophizing and Avoidance

- and Deficits In Problem-Solving Ability.

 

#considermypain

2019 Kairos Chronic Pain Coaching

Citation: 2 Pain as a Public Health Challenge." Institute of Medicine. 2011. Relieving Pain in America: A Blueprint for Transforming Prevention, Care, Education, and Research. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/13172.

At present, suicide prevention efforts tend to focus on people exhibiting psychiatric symptoms or recent suicide attempts, not on pain as an independent risk factor for suicide.

Anyone else saddened and shocked? Angered and appalled? The manipulative narrative that has been fed to the American public is some of the most grossly skewed, politically-fueled, negligent accounts of a U.S. health care issue I've personally been witness to. In my opinion, The Opioid War has become the country's 21st century, Roe vs. Wade...assuming that is still politically put to bed...  

 

To add fuel to the fire, this information is NOT easy to find - a simple internet search will not yield this data...and once found, one has to truly understand what they're looking at. 

 

The March 2016 Center for Disease Control and Prevention's (CDC) newly developed prescribing guidelines seeks to restrict the availability of opioid pain medication. Spearheaded by lawmakers, the trendy and politicized "war on opioids" protects, commends and praises an addict’s strength for admitting their disease and getting help while simultaneously stigmatizing another disease, one that is just as prevalent and becoming just as deadly.

 

It must comfort millions of family members who currently have an addicted loved one, or worse, have lost an addicted loved one; that the War on Opioids could make it harder or even preventable for cravings to be satiated. The notion of restricting, tightening, and perhaps even outlawing pain management physicians, hospitals, and pharmaceutical companies from distributing opioids must help surviving family members feel that their loved ones haven't died in vain. I get this. I so get this. 

 

But, HOW do you ignore the data that points to an increase in suicidality within the chronic pain community? HOW can ANYone ignore these numbers? Can we as a country afford to any longer? Can you?

 

The risk of suicide among people with chronic pain appears to be about double that of control groups, with the lifetime prevalence of suicide attempts by chronic pain sufferers ranging from 5 to 14 percent in various studies.

 

A 2006 review of the literature found eight suicide risk factors for people in chronic pain. Four were specifically pain-related factors: type, intensity, and duration of pain, and insomnia. Four were psychological factors: helplessness and hopelessness about pain, the desire to escape from pain, pain catastrophizing and avoidance, and deficits in problem-solving ability.

Once these data were adjusted for other physical problems and for recent psychopathology that increases suicide risk (e.g., depression, anxiety disorders, substance abuse), the higher risk for people with pain generally remained, especially for people with multiple sources of pain. People having two or more types of chronic pain were “almost three times more likely to report a suicide attempt” than people without pain. The strong association between suicidality and chronic headaches remained after the adjustment described.

These findings mirror those of a recent population-based study among Canadians, which likewise found that the presence of one or more chronic pain conditions was associated with suicide ideation and attempts and that migraine had the strongest association with both, even after adjusting for mental disorders. In addition, the study showed that the presence of chronic pain significantly increased the association with suicide ideation and attempts among people with a mental disorder.

A recent population-based study used data on nearly 5,700 adults representative of the U.S. population to investigate pain and suicide. In this study population, 29 percent of the subjects had chronic pain, back or neck pain, frequent or severe headaches, or other non-arthritis pain. All of these conditions “were consistently related to suicidality," with chronic severe headaches having the strongest association. People with chronic headaches were 4.3 times more likely than those without such headaches to think about suicide, 4.6 times more likely to plan suicide, and 6.5 times more likely to have attempted suicide in the previous 12 months. Those with “other” chronic pain also were more likely than those without such pain to have thought about (2.5 times as likely), planned (3.5 times), and attempted (6.2 times) suicide.

 

 Spearheaded by lawmakers, the trendy and politicized "war on opioids" protects, commends and praises an addict’s strength for admitting their disease and getting help while simultaneously stigmatizing another disease, one that is just as prevalent and becoming just as deadly.

 

#IConsiderMyPain

2019 Kairos Chronic Pain Coaching 

Clinicians serving people with multiple pain conditions and serious and persistent headaches should be aware of this heightened risk. At present, suicide prevention efforts tend to focus on people exhibiting psychiatric symptoms or recent suicide attempts, not on pain as an independent risk factor for suicide.

 

Finally, according to the National Violent Death Reporting System, 20 percent of all suicide deaths in 2008 in the 17 states that system monitors were among former or current military personnel. Almost 40 percent of these victims had some physical health problem believed to have played a part in the decision to commit suicide (CDC and NVDRS, undated). This data set—although the nation’s most comprehensive on the issue of suicide—does not cover all states, nor does it ask specifically about pain as a contributing factor. However, the association between self-reported pain severity and suicide among veterans has been confirmed in other research. After controlling for demographic and psychiatric characteristics, Ilgen and colleagues determined that veterans with severe pain were one-third more likely to die by suicide than those without pain or with only mild or moderate pain. (1)

Cited Articles:

"2 Pain as a Public Health Challenge." Institute of Medicine. 2011. Relieving Pain in America: A Blueprint for Transforming Prevention, Care, Education, and Research. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/13172

Habit-forming vs. Tolerance vs. (Physical) Dependency vs. Addiction

 

It is a general misconception that habit-forming, tolerance, (physical) dependency and, addiction mean the same things. They don't.  Without this critical foundation, it is very easy to be misled. 

 

Habit-forming. 

Inducing the formation of an addiction.  In other words, causing a strong need to regularly have something (such as a drug) or do something. (-Merriam-Webster Dictionary)

 

If you've ever been a smoker, the best way to understand this is to think of a (hopeful) past smoking addiction. Smoking cessation is challenging because of the addictive nicotine that people contend with but also, the habits that are created around smoking. Quitting smoking was particularly difficult for me after I ate something, driving my car, my morning with my coffee...or whenever the sh*t hit the fan. 

 

Tolerance.

Tolerance is defined as a person’s diminished response to a drug that is the result of repeated use.

 

When I was taking pain medication, after a few months, I would notice the same amount wasn't doing the job. My body had become used to the current dosage, therefore prompting an increase in dosage.

 

It's important to note: Just because you have built a physical tolerance to a medication, does not mean you have developed an addiction to it. 

 

Tolerance is not just applicable to pain medication - tolerance can be "built" with consistent exposure to alcohol, long-term medications, OTC drugs + illicit drugs. Tolerance can also be "built" with your kids, mother-in-law...and spouse...No, not funny? 

 

There are 3 main types of tolerance: Acute, Chronic, or long-term + Learned tolerance. 

 

To read more about these differences, please click here.

 

 

Unfortunately, both professionals and lay people often misuse these terms, leading to the mistaken belief that tolerance, dependence, and addiction are just different names for the same thing. However, knowing the distinction between these terms can lead to a better understanding of the dangers of drug abuse.

-drugabuse.com (1)

(Physical) Dependence. 

​​In medical terms, dependence specifically refers to a physical condition in which the body has adapted to the presence of a drug. If an individual with drug dependence stops taking that drug suddenly, that person will experience predictable and measurable symptoms, known as a withdrawal syndrome.

 

When I decided to go to the chronic pain recovery program, I chose to get off my pain medications. My body didn't give up the fight easily. In fact, they had mentioned that I had one of the longest withdrawals they've seen. Everybody has to be good at something, right? Nevertheless, though the physical withdrawal was hell on earth, mentally and emotionally withdrawing from the medication had no bearing on me whatsoever. I didn't need the medication; therefore, I didn't want it. I knew enough to be grateful for the fact that, for me, it was as easy as that.

 

Addiction.

According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA), addiction is a “chronic, relapsing brain disease that is characterized by compulsive drug seeking and use, despite harmful consequences".

 

       Opioid vs. Opiate vs. Narcotic 

Narcotics, opioids, and opiate are interchangeable terms in medicine, meant to describe pain relievers. While “opioid” and “opiate” are often used interchangeably in common speech, there are technical differences between the two. Opiates are drugs that are naturally derived. Opiates refer to certain alkaloids that are naturally occurring in the opium poppy plant, which grows primarily in regions such as South America and Southeast Asia.​

In addition to natural opiates, there are semi-synthetic and synthetic opioids. If a substance is synthetic, it is technically an opioid, rather than an opiate.

 

Though some people still refer to all drugs as “narcotics,” today “narcotic”  refers to opium, opium derivatives, and their semi-synthetic substitutes. A more current term for these drugs, with less uncertainty regarding its meaning, is “opioid.” Examples include the illicit drug heroin and pharmaceutical drugs like OxyContin®, Vicodin®, codeine, morphine, methadone, and fentanyl.

[1]

​​

 

 

Everything Opioids/Opiates

​​

Prescription Opioid Medication.

Opioids are a class of drugs naturally found in the opium poppy plant. Some prescription opioids are made from the plant directly, and others are made by scientists in labs using the same chemical structure. Opioids are often used as medicines because they contain chemicals that relax the body and can relieve pain. Prescription opioids are used mostly to treat moderate to severe pain. 

Common prescription opioid medications include:

  • hydrocodone (Vicodin®) oxycodone (OxyContin®, Percocet®)

  • oxymorphone (Opana®)

  • morphine (Kadian®, Avinza®)

  • codeine

  • fentanyl [2]

 

 

How Do Opioids Work?

An opioid is any agent that binds to opioid receptors (protein molecules located on the membranes of some nerve cells) found principally in the central nervous system and gastrointestinal tract, and elicits a response. There are four broad classes of opioids:

Consistent with the newest definition, this reference uses “opioid” to refer to all opioids and opiates.

 

  • Endogenous opioid, naturally produced in the body, endorphins

  • Opium alkaloids, such as morphine and codeine

  • Semi-synthetic opioids such as heroin,oxycodone, and Buprenorphine

  • Fully synthetic opioids, such as methadone, that have structures unrelated to the opium alkaloids

 

Opioids attach to receptors in the brain. Normally these opioids are the endogenous variety created naturally in the body. Once attached, they send signals to the brain of the “opioid effect” which blocks pain, slows breathing, and has a general calming and anti-depressing effect. The body cannot produce enough natural opioids to stop severe or chronic pain nor can it produce enough to cause an overdose.

[4]

 

 

Illicit Drugs.

Illicit drugs are those banned by international drug control treaties. They include cannabis products (for example, marijuana, hashish, and bhang); stimulant drugs (such as cocaine and methamphetamine); so-called dance-party drugs (such as 3, 4-methylenedioxymethamphetamine, also known as ecstasy or MDMA); and illicit opioids (for instance, heroin and opium) and diverted pharmaceutical opioids (such as buprenorphine, methadone, and morphine) [5]

 

Semi-Synthetic vs. Synthetic Opioids

Again, in addition to natural opiates, there are semi-synthetic and synthetic opioids. Semi-synthetic opioids are partially derived from opium and codeine. Synthetic opioids are fully synthesized, meaning they’re manmade. These drugs, despite the distinctions in how they’re made, all act on the brain and body in the same way. They also all have the potential for addiction and physical dependence. Semi-synthetic opioids include:

 

  • Hydrocodone

  • Oxycodone

  • Hydromorphone

  • Oxymorphone

  • Buprenorphine

 

Synthetic opioids made in laboratories include

  • Tramadol

  • Fentanyl

  • Methadone

[3]

Opioids attach to receptors in the brain. Normally these opioids are the endogenous variety created naturally in the body. Once attached, they send signals to the brain of the “opioid effect” which blocks pain, slows breathing, and has a general calming and anti-depressing effect. The body cannot produce enough natural opioids to stop severe or chronic pain nor can it produce enough to cause an overdose.[4]

Cited Articles:

 

 

[1] “Drug Facts | DEA.” DEA.gov / Statistics & Facts, www.dea.gov/factsheets.

[2]https://www.drugabuse.gov/publications/drugfacts/prescription-opioids

[3] Christensen, Alissa. “Home.” The Recovery Village, The Recovery Village, www.therecoveryvillage.com/narcotics-addiction/synthetic-narcotics/%E2%80%8B.

[4]“The National Alliance of Advocates for Buprenorphine Treatment.” How Do Opioids Work in the Brain?, www.naabt.org/education/opiates_opioids.cfm.

[5]  Hall W, Doran C, Degenhardt L, et al. Illicit Opiate Abuse. In: Jamison DT, Breman JG, Measham AR, et al., editors. Disease Control Priorities in Developing Countries. 2nd edition. Washington (DC): The International Bank for Reconstruction and Development / The World Bank; 2006. Chapter 48.Available from: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK11797/ Co-published by Oxford University Press, New York.

 

The War on CP Sufferers.

​​

If you've taken the time to read this page, you may have wondered why I included so much information - and here is my reasoning: Information is power. I have done my very best to sift through the extraordinary amount of information out there that pertains to The Opioid Epidemic. More so than that, it was important that you understood (if you didn't already) the medical definitions and scientific differences between these terms. Why?

 

Imagine this: Let's say you're listening to the news, rushing to get out of the house...and you hear the following statistic: 

 

 

"On average, 115 Americans die every day from an opioid overdose."

 

(By the way... this stat comes directly from the CDC website)

 

What is your first reaction?? The same as mine. You start shaking your head in dismay. Maybe you mumble something like, "ohmigosh, that's so horrible." And then, somewhere in the chaos of your day...you store the random fact in the back of your brain to speak to at a dinner party or social event...

 

Except...if the general population doesn't understand the true medical definition of "opioid"...most will naturally assume "opioid" = prescription pain medication - when in fact,  the CDC is including illicit heroin in this statistic.

 

 

And this little fact... has caused an all-out war against chronic pain sufferers. Today, pain medication is a dirty word in our society. Stigmas, judgments and sweeping generalizations are immediately applied to a person should they mention they have been prescribed pain medication.

 

In fact, beginning in January 2019, opioid pain medication will be restricted to a morphine milligram equivalent day of no more than 90 MME/day. These restrictions don't apply to patients in active cancer treatment, palliative care, or end-of-life care, and though it may seem like a lot, I assure you, most chronic pain sufferers, will struggle to get through the day if opioid pain medicine is their only coping skill. If you'd like to read more about the new prescribing guidelines, please click here.

 

Here is the most upsetting part...

The Institute of Medicine (IOM), the very agency that was asked by The Department of Health and Human Services, National Institutes of Health, to address the current state of the science with respect to pain research, care, and education and published their findings in a book entitled, "Relieving Pain in America: A Blueprint for Transforming Prevention, Care, Education, and Research" stated this...in italics. 

"Regardless, the majority of people with pain use their prescription drugs properly, are not a source of misuse, and should not be stigmatized or denied access because of the misdeeds or carelessness of others." Let me repeat that again. In a pull quote. 

Mic drop. 

 

 

Regardless, the majority of people with pain use their prescription drugs properly, are not a source of misuse, and should not be stigmatized or denied access because of the misdeeds or carelessness of others.

[1]

Cited Articles:

 

[1] Institute of Medicine (US) Committee on Advancing Pain Research, Care, and Education. Relieving Pain in America: A Blueprint for Transforming Prevention, Care, Education, and Research. Washington (DC): National Academies Press (US); 2011. 3, Care of People with Pain. Available from: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK92517/

"We are experts in addressing the underlying issues that often perpetuate and worsen pain.

You and your physician are experts in identifying and treating the symptoms and disease itself.

Together, we will help you get back to you." 

- Kairos Chronic Pain Coaching

It's An Honor To Be a Member of The Following Organizations:

U.S. Pain Foundation
Integrative Wellness Academy (Wellness and Life Coaching School)
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Christina H Chororos, a decade-long deep infiltrating endometriosis (DIE) sufferer, founded Kairos Chronic Pain Coaching in the fall of 2018 and is a chronic pain and illness educator, speaker, and writer.

 

Christina graduated with honors from Lynchburg University with a Bachelor of Science in Human Development and Education in 2002. Additionally, she obtained an Integrative Wellness Life Coaching Certification from the Integrative Wellness Academy in the fall of 2017, and a Graduate Certificate in Pain Management from the University of Connecticut (UCONN) in the spring of 2020.

 

Christina is a regular contributor to iPain Living Magazine, a quarterly magazine published by the International Pain Foundation. 

For more information please visit kairoschronicpain.com

Kairos Chronic Pain Coaching Offices 

567 Park Avenue I Suite 203 I Scotch Plains I NJ I 07076  

Phone: 1-833-936-1240

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Last Updated: July 2020