Urgent new painkiller warning>

When you've got pain, you want relief... and when the pain is bad, you almost don't care how you get it.

Well, friend, it's time to care -- it's time to care a lot -- because a new study exposes the frightening toll of prescription opioid use.

These drugs are so widely overused now that opioids alone have slashed the entire national average life expectancy.

Over 15 years, the American life expectancy rose by nearly two years.

That's the good news.

But the report finds it would've been much BETTER if it hadn't been for opioids.

Over that same period, deaths from drug overdoses more than doubled, and deaths from opioid painkillers more than tripled.

So many people died of painkiller overdose that opioids have pulled the entire national life expectancy down by 10 weeks!

It would be easy to dismiss this. It's easy to assume you could never get stuck on these drugs yourself.

But that's just not true.

More than 2 million Americans are hooked on opioids right now, and most are probably not what you would think of as "drug addicts."

They're patients with a problem -- including pain conditions you might face yourself.

Doctors are still routinely giving out opioids for common chronic pain disorders including back pain, arthritis, neuropathy, and more -- especially as the conditions get worse and ordinary over-the-counter painkillers no longer do the trick.

And that's not the only way you could end up on the drugs.

There's one more route to addiction that might seem like the most innocent start of all: surgery.

Some docs will give out a short supply of opioids for a minor procedure, supposedly for a more comfortable recovery. But that five-day prescription can get turned into a 14-day course... then another refill... then it becomes an ongoing habit.

One study last year looked at 11 common types of surgery and found all of them -- even a procedure as common as cataract surgery -- have led to an increase not only in opioid use, but chronic opioid use.

The biggest risk was in one of the most common procedures among older patients: knee surgery.

Folks who have this operation are FIVE TIMES more likely to end up as chronic opioid users.

Obviously, the best way to avoid the drugs and the risks is to not start. If you have a chronic pain condition -- or there's a routine surgery in your future -- seek other options for pain relief.

If you're already on these meds, it's time to find your way off, even if you don't think you're hooked.

The best way to get off opioids is to work with a holistic medical doctor who can not only safely switch you to other options for pain but also work naturally to detoxify your body to help you end the drug use more easily.