painkiller addiction

  1. Codeine side effects make you more sensitive to pain

    Painkillers can increase your pain

    It's one of the dirtiest secrets of the drug industry: Common painkillers -- including the drugs like codeine taken by tens of millions of Americans every single day -- can actually make your pain worse with codeine side effects.

    I'd say it's like adding gasoline to a fire, except the fuel for this blaze comes in the form of a time-released capsule.

    As a result, the effect isn't immediate, and it's not obvious. It takes time -- weeks, months or years. It can take so long that you probably won't even blame the drug.

    You blame yourself, or the condition causing your pain, believing that it's getting worse.

    But the problem isn't your condition, and it's certainly not you.

    It's your meds.

    New research confirms that at least one painkiller, codeine, can increase your sensitivity to pain -- which explains why people who use the drug long-term for conditions such as headaches often battle more and worse headaches over time thanks to the codeine side effects.

    And the pain doesn't end there, either.

    Codeine side effects can also make you so sensitive to pain that things that never hurt before could cause you to double over in agony -- including brushing your hair or just being touched, according to the study.

    As bad as that is, that's not the worst of it the codeine side effects. That comes next, when you increase your dose or pop more pills to deal with the increased pain.

    Maybe that works for a little while... but then it starts all over again, this time with even more pain.

    So you pop more pills -- and eventually, you fall into the cycle of addiction and everything that comes with it, including the risk of overdose and even death.

    The new study focused on codeine side effects, but it's not the only drug that can lead to more pain. Many common painkillers have a notorious "rebound" effect -- which is why the best approach to pain is to avoid all the drugs if you can.

    And if you try, you can -- because there are safe and natural solutions that can ease even the most stubborn aches and pains without making them worse.

    While the best approach for you will depend on the cause of your pain, most people get anti-inflammatory relief from curcumin, MSM and bromelain. In addition, consider drug-free treatments backed by science, including acupuncture, cold laser therapy and chiropractic.

  2. The silent drug problem

    There's a major drug problem facing the world... and it's got nothing to do with Colombian cartels or inner-city gangs.

    No, the real drug problem comes courtesy of Big Pharma, because a new report finds that more people abuse prescription drugs than heroin, ecstasy and cocaine combined.

    The United Nations International Narcotics Control Board says that 6.2 million Americans were addicted to legal drugs in 2008. That means Americans abuse prescription meds more than any illegal drug except for marijuana.

    That's a lot of legal junkies.

    In fact, an entire industry has sprung up to service people who want prescription drugs... but can't get them from their own doctors. Many of these places advertise themselves as pain clinics, but cops call them "pill mills."

    Inside, unscrupulous docs do nothing for pain--they just sell pills. And when the doctors in these places are busted, the owners feign outrage and hire new pill-pushing doctors.

    It's not limited to pill mills... legal drugs are also being exchanged everyday on playgrounds.

    A study last year found that 20 percent of American kids shared their own prescription meds... and 20 percent of children have taken drugs given to them by a friend instead of a doctor. That study found that kids share everything from allergy meds to painkillers to drugs like Ritalin.

    And it goes far beyond our borders. Legal drug addiction has become a global nightmare.

    Right next door in Canada, up to 3 percent of the population is believed to abuse prescription drugs, according to the new report. That may not sound like much, but it adds up to around 1 million Canadians with a drug problem that has nothing to do with the kind you buy on the street.

    In Germany, between 1.4 million and 1.9 million people are addicted to prescription drugs. And in some other European countries, including France and Italy, millions of students –-between 10 percent and 18 percent of them--use sedatives or tranquilizers without a prescription.

    The U.N. report also warns of easy access to drugs over the Internet... and how simple it is to buy drugs across borders now--not only making the problem worse, but harder to track and control.

    There are so many reasons to avoid these meds--and the risk of addiction is just one of them. The side effects can be worse than the addiction itself... and even deadly. Opioid painkillers alone caused 13,800 deaths in the United States in 2006.

    What's remarkable is that these powerful and addictive meds are often completely unnecessary. Most painkillers are--in large part because none of them actually treat or cure the condition causing the pain, but merely mask the symptoms as the patient gets hooked.

    Even as the pain fades, the quest for the next high is just beginning.

    I know drugs seem like a quick fix, especially for people facing chronic pain--but as the U.N. report shows, they're really just a prescription for addiction and even more pain for millions of people.

    If your doc is more interested in feeding you drugs than finding a solution, there's only one thing to do: Find a new doctor.

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