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Sharp Health News

Opioids: what you need to know (infographic)

Jan. 8, 2018

With opioid addiction affecting over 2 million Americans, many people have understandable fears about starting new pain medication. And while the crisis is very real, no one should have to grin and bear pain.

Dr. Bianca Tribuzio, a pain management specialist with Sharp Rees-Stealy Medical Group, understands the concern. "It's important for individuals to learn ways to treat pain that are not centered on a prescription," she says. Read her tips on approaching pain, and managing it in a safe, healthy way.

For the news media: To talk with Dr. Bianca Tribuzio about opioids for an upcoming story, contact Erica Carlson, senior public relations specialist, at

Opioids: what you need to know. Addiction to opioids often starts with a simple, legal prescription. Learn tips for managing your medications safely, and consider these alternatives for relieving pain. From prescription to addiction. More than 11 million Americans age 12 and older misused prescription pain medicine in 2016. What to do when you're in pain. The current trend of opioid addiction can be frightening. Follow these 6 steps to safely address new pain. Step 1: Ask your doctor about non-opioid pain relief options. Step 2. Discuss any personal or family history of addiction or substance abuse with your doctor. Step 3: If prescribed, take the opioid at the lowest dose and for the shortest duration. Step 4: Stay in close contact with your doctor to monitor pain and side effects. Step 5: Secure your medicines in a safe area, where members of you household cannot access them. Step 6: Talk to your doctor or pharmacist about safe medication disposal. 6 ways to relieve pain without drugs. If you or a loved one is concerned about taking opioids, ask your doctor about these alternatives. Deep breathing or meditation. Exercise. Injections, procedures or interventions (at your doctor's recommendation). Massage and complementary therapies. Psychological treatment. Heat or ice. 6 ways to spot addiction. Familiarize yourself with a few common signs of addiction. 1. Personality changes. 2. A change in sleep habits. 3. Lack of hygiene. 4. Frequent flu-like symptoms. 5. Weight loss. 6. Decreased energy or motivation. Where to turn for help. If you have concerns about opioids, talk to your doctor or call Sharp Mesa Vista Hospital at 858-836-8434. You can also speak with a counselor at the San Diego County Access and Crisis Line at 1-888-724-7240. From the expert.

View the printable version of this infographic.

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