America’s addiction crisis got some positive news this week after federal officials revealed that they are working to get non-opioid painkillers onto the market in the very near future. As we all know, these prescribed drugs have been wreaking havoc and leading to tens of thousands of overdoses across the country. Now though, National Institute of Health director Francis Collins explained that true progress was being made.
“We are learning a tremendous amount about what the neurobiology of pain is all about,” Collins told USA Today. “So many people are dying, there is clearly an urgency to improving the tools that we have to help them.”
As the USA article explains, there is a real science behind this approach. One of the big keys of the concept would be creating prescription drugs that do not have to be used as frequently to treat pain. Some researchers believe that there can be painkillers developed that only need to be taken monthly (a lot less frequently than common opioid treatments like OxyContin).
But in the current state of things, finding that perfect reliever is proving to be a big challenge. For ongoing sufferers, over-the-counter meds like Aspiring simply don’t solve the issue. And it is important to note that nearly 100 million U.S. adults claim to be living with chronic pain.
Huffington Post writer Janna Wagner (who herself suffers from chronic pain) explained in her recent article how the existing alternate treatments have done little good.
“Few good treatment options exist for chronic pain patients ― believe me, I’ve tried my share,” Wagner explained. “Knee braces. Canes. Anti-inflammatories. Steroids. Acupuncture. Infusions and shots in my knees. (Yes, in my knees.) Once a skeptic of alternative therapies, I even went vegan, slopped on some arnica and capsaicin cream, digested turmeric and completed a Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction class. Twice. Many of these alternative treatments are prohibitively costly and not covered by insurance, limiting services for the uninsured or those who are on a fixed or limited income.”
Our sincere hope is that the feds take that non-opioid discussion seriously. This crisis continues to worsen as the decade goes on and there still doesn’t seem to be any clear cut solutions in sight. Approaching it from a scientific perspective could offer some very positive benefits. Let’s just hope they have the resources and the will to carry that promise out.