How to Take Narcotics Responsibly If You’re in Recovery From Opiate Addiction

If a Methadone or Suboxone patient suffers intense pain, such as being hit by a truck, will they need more, or less, analgesics to get relief from the pain? Pain management is a complicated issue for physicians in the best of circumstances, but it is further complicated for people who use the medications Methadone and Suboxone. Well meaning physicians may under-prescribe or withhold pain medications for fear of causing someone to relapse. Or they may fear inducing overdose in someone who is already prescribed a synthetic opiate. But in fact, these patients are likely to need more aggressive interventions such as larger doses of short-acting pain killers and more frequent intervals for severe pain. Listen in to this opioid recovery support group discuss their experiences with pain management while on these medications.

Discussion Guide:

Did your opioid dependence begin due to a medical condition in which you were prescribed pain killers?

Do you still have a medical condition that causes pain?

Do you believe that your MAT, Medication Assisted Treatment such as Methadone or Suboxone, prevents you from experiencing pain?

If you have an injury or medical condition in the future, that would require painful surgery or treatment, would you take narcotics?

If you choose to take pain medicine, what is your plan to minimize potential abuse?

Who is your accountability partner for the responsible use of a pain killer?

Supplemental Reading:

Olivia Pennelle, How I Took Narcotics Responsibly in Sobrietyhttp://www.thefix.com/how-i-took-narcotics-responsibly-sobriety

Addiction Treatment Forum, Dealing With Pain, http://www.atforum.com/documents/english/Dealing_with_Pain.pdf

Prater, Zylstra, Miller, Successful Pain Management for the Recovering Addicted Patient, http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC315480/pdf/i1523-5998-004-04-0125.pdf