When it comes to treating low back pain, opioids have many risks and few benefits.
Opioids should only be considered in limited circumstances for low back pain.
At present, surgeons vary widely in their approach to opioid prescription and some patients use opioids for prolonged periods post-surgery.
Surgeons are big prescribers of opioids. But while guidelines are in place for dentists and for doctors who prescribe opioid-based painkillers for long-term pain, there are none for surgeons.
President Donald Trump displays a presidential memorandum he signed, declaring the opioid crisis a public health emergency in the East Room of the White House, Oct. 26, 2017, in Washington.
(AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais)
Opioids kill an average of eight people every day in Canada. The federal government must officially declare this a 'public welfare emergency' and invest the funds critical to a humane response.
Pain is something everyone experiences. This episode of The Anthill podcast explores how and why it works in our brains, what kinds of drugs are being developed to reduce pain, and whether or not robots of the future should be built so that they experience pain.
Australian Federal Police/AAP
Small quantities of drugs are getting past customs and then being used to create much bigger batches of illegal drugs like synthetic heroin.
People wait in line for a methadone clinic to open in Hoquiam, Washington, a small town within a predominantly rural area.
David Goldman/AP Photo
Many who need help with opioid addiction live far from dedicated treatment centers.
An emergency overdose kit in Providence, Rhode Island.
The White House has laid out a plan to address the opioid crisis. But people suffering from opioid addiction aren't the only ones who need help.
As North America’s opioid crisis worsens, schools across Canada are purchasing naloxone anti-overdose kits. Research suggests that risks of opioid addiction could also be addressed through attention to children’s nutrition.
High fructose corn syrup in food and drinks has long been linked to rising rates of child and teen obesity. New evidence suggests it increases the risks of opioid addiction and overdose too.
Michelle Holley holds a photograph of her daughter Jaime Holley, 19, who died of a heroin overdose in November 2016.
Lynne Sladky/AP Photo
Your guide to a public health crisis that's likely to get worse.
Talk it out.
While talking about drugs with young people isn't always comfortable, research has shown that it's critical for prevention.
Schedule 2 narcotics: Morphine Sulfate, OxyContin and Opana.
Rich Pedroncelli/AP Photo
How can we fight the opioid epidemic? Redesign the drugs, rethink how we assess patients and mandate prescription monitoring.
Drug addiction isn't about bad habits, fear of withdrawal or a selfish search for pleasure. It's about the brain.
Discarded used hypodermic needles along the Merrimack River in Lowell, Massachusetts.
Charles Krupa/AP Photos
HIV, STIs and other dangerous infections are feeding off of the opioid epidemic, creating an even more complicated threat to public health.
For patients with chronic pain, the answer isn’t simple.
Chris Post/AP Photo
If opioids prevent significant suffering, then the solution to the prescription opioid problem cannot simply be to stop using them.
People without ID, like Steven Kemp, are sometimes turned away from the country’s already threadbare system of drug treatment centers.
Matt Rourke/AP Photo
President Trump declared the opioid epidemic a national emergency. But we need to do a lot more to prevent this crisis from escalating even further.
Baby boomers who drink and take drugs risk a range of physical and mental problems that younger substance users don’t necessarily face.
More Australians over 50 are drinking and taking drugs than ever before. Here's why that can be a problem.
Drug deaths in Scotland are now among the highest in Europe. What can be done?
There is growing evidence for the use of cannabis in treating opioid addiction.
As Canada moves towards legalization of cannabis in 2018, there is growing evidence of the drug's potential to treat opioid addiction itself, as well as the chronic pain that often drives it.
Even a tiny amount of fentanyl can be fatal, but the drug is turning up in batches of heroin the UK.
UK must now respond to arrival of fentanyl, which has for years been a major drug problem in the US and Canada.
Paul Wright, in treatment for opioid addiction in June 2017 at the Neil Kennedy Recovery Clinic in Youngstown Ohio, shows a photo of himself from 2015, when he almost died from an overdose.
AP Photo/David Dermer
The number of people dying from opioid overdose continues to rise, in part because of cheap street drugs. Yet the price of a drug used to treat addiction is out of reach for many.