My doctor prescribed me opioids without discussing the risks

Health care providers often do not discuss the addictive qualities of opioids or inform patients of alternative treatment options.

By Andrew Kiezulas

Agony. A fall on ice. Nearly paralyzed. Pills prescribed for pain.

Growing up I mostly kept it together, finding relief from pain and depression through rough sports, acting out, the bottle and occasional other substances. But I fell head over heels when given opioids. Once a collegiate athlete, I became a prisoner in my home and mind, unable to leave either without them.

I tried for years to literally get my feet back under me, but only the needle brought comfort. Trauma-turned-PTSD, mixed with a life-altering injury, met severe substance use disorder. I found out the hard way: Trauma isn’t just what happens to you, it’s what happens in you.

“They don’t tell you they [opioids] also treat mental, emotional and spiritual suffering.”

The Problem

Many patients and their families are not aware of the risks associated with opioids. Many health care providers miss an opportunity to educate their patients and help them make an informed choice by failing to discuss the risks and alternative treatment options when prescribing opioids.

The Solution

Health care providers should be required or incentivized to inform patients of the risks associated with opioids and discuss alternative treatment options whenever prescribing opioids.

Take Action

Has your family experienced inadequate prevention, or obstacles to receiving treatment?

Your story can help others impacted by addiction and become a powerful tool for policy change. By sharing our experiences, we can help others feel like they are not alone and break the stigma associated with substance use.

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Help us increase awareness of the systemic barriers to addiction prevention and care.