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Today, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid (CMS) is helping cut the risks with new Medicare Part D prescription safety rules and alerts. They’re also supporting addiction treatment programs and opioid choices. Just as vital, the CMS is actively educating both doctors and patients on the dangers of opioids.
Opioids are drugs that ease pain. Simply put, they cut the strength of pain signals reaching the brain to curb pain. Doctors give them to treat pain linked to injury, dental work and surgery.
Types of opioid painkillers include:
Opioids are helpful tools that relieve pain when taken the right way. When misused, though, they can lead to dependence – which can then lead to overdose or even accidental death.
Opioids should only be prescribed after other choices are weighed. Less addictive drugs, exercise and massage or physical therapy may be less risky ways to handle pain.
There are a few common tell-tale signs. There may be a problem if you:
If you think that you rely too much on opioids, talk with your doctor. It’s a common issue, so don't feel embarrassed. There is a complex link between you and your meds. You can find help. Seeing you may have a problem is the first step.
Originally published 12/17/2018; Revised 2021, 2023
Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Montana, a Division of Health Care Service Corporation, a Mutual Legal Reserve Company, an Independent Licensee of the Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association
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Last Updated 10012018Y0096_WEB_MT_CONNECT19_C