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Despite deadly epidemic, opioids have a place in pain reduction

By in Press Enterprise on November 27, 2017

By David Whiting

The opioid study flew across America like a herd of winged unicorns.

After it was published this month in the peer-reviewed and venerable Journal of the American Medical Association, breathless reporters declared the study found over-the-counter pain relievers work just as well as opioids.

Finally, a light in the darkness of our nation’s opioid epidemic — or so it seemed.

  • The fibula, left, is broken diagonally just above the ankle. Columnist David Whiting crashed in Aliso and Wood Canyons Wilderness in late August and took an opioid to help sleep. His leg is still mending. Courtesy of David Whiting

  • Columnist David Whiting broke his ankle in Orange County only a week after mountain biking in Botswana. Photo by Lindsay Whiting

    Columnist David Whiting broke his ankle in Orange County only a week after mountain biking in Botswana. Photo by Lindsay Whiting

  • Columnist David Whiting was in a cast for nearly two months after breaking his leg mountain biking and took an opioid to help sleep. Photo by David Whiting

    Columnist David Whiting was in a cast for nearly two months after breaking his leg mountain biking and took an opioid to help sleep. Photo by David Whiting

  • Body armor such as knee protectors can help reduce the impact of a fall. Photo by David Whiting

    Body armor such as knee protectors can help reduce the impact of a fall. Photo by David Whiting

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But as someone who has detailed the spiraling prescription epidemic for seven years, the stories about this new study resonated as too good to be true — because they were.

Physicians call the study misunderstood. Patients call it dangerous.

Even a long-time expert on non-opioid pain […]    

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