The Current

Debating prescribing opioids for treating chronic pain

People who've used opioids like Oxycontin to relieve chronic pain know how effective they can be. But people who've come to rely on opioids know the harrowing downside. For some it's just not worth it -- and there's a now a push to have doctors stop prescribing them to most patents....
People who've used opioids like Oxycontin to relieve chronic pain know how effective they can be. But people who've come to rely on opioids know the harrowing downside. For some it's just not worth it -- and there's a now a push to have doctors stop prescribing them to most patents.
This is probably the worst man made epidemic in history in America. If organized medicine helped to start this thing then where are they now in helping to reverse it.Dr. Gary Franklin, a neurologist and Research Professor at the University of Washington.

Dr. Gary Franklin is the lead author of a new paper for The American Academy of Neurology opposing the use of opioids for most types of chronic pain. The American Academy of Neurology - whose members specialize in pain treatment - is the first major medical organization to come out against the long-term use of opioids for chronic pain.

But talk about using opioids for only a day or two doesn't sit well with people like Heather Divine, who lives on Vancouver Island. She's been taking opioids for 24 years to control her pain.

It really strikes fear into me because I know what the pain is like if I don't have help from medication. Medication is only a small piece but if it didn't bring the pain down I wouldn't have a life.I would just be in bed or would be considering suicide because I can remember what the pain was like before I had help.Heather Divine suffers from chronic pain

The issue of opioid use has sparked debate within the Canadian medical community.


Do you think opioids should be limited to very short term use for pain? Or is there a place for these medications in managing chronic pain. Tell us your story.

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This segment was produced by The Current's Liz Hoath and Sarah Grant.

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