pain medication

NPR's "Take A Number" series is exploring problems around the world — and solutions — through the lens of a single number.

One of the places many people are first prescribed opioids is a hospital emergency room. But in one of the busiest ERs in the U.S., doctors are relying less than they used to on oxycodone, Percocet, Vicodin and other opioids to ease patients' pain.

Once people realized that opioid drugs could cause addiction and deadly overdoses, they tried to use newer forms of opioids to treat the addiction to its parent. Morphine, about 10 times the strength of opium, was used to curb opium cravings in the early 19th century. Codeine, too, was touted as a nonaddictive drug for pain relief, as was heroin.

Those attempts were doomed to failure because all opioid drugs interact with the brain in the same way. They dock to a specific neural receptor, the mu-opioid receptor, which controls the effects of pleasure, pain relief and need.

Court Allows Case Against Pharmacy In Man's Death

May 12, 2016
Associated Press

A state appeals court Wednesday said a lawsuit can move forward against a compounding pharmacy in the death of an Ohio man who received a fatal dose of pain medication while on vacation in Southwest Florida.

Feds, Pharmacies Grapple With Pain Pill Dilemma

Oct 2, 2015
Associated Press

Susan Langston wiped away tears as she spoke of a 40-year-old woman who had struggled with cancer for a decade before a Fort Myers pharmacy refused to fill a prescription for pain medication.