Opioids: The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly

Opium, a dried latex collected from the opium poppy, was the original “wonder drug.” It effectively relieved pain and had other medicinal effects – and incidentally produced euphoria and addiction. There is archaeological evidence that it was used as early as 5700 BC. It was the active ingredient in laudanum and paregoric. For decades, these

Just How Addictive Are Opioids?

There is an opioid epidemic, with increasing overdose deaths from both prescription drugs and illegal drugs. Just how addictive are opioids? It appears they are safe when used appropriately, but there is a high risk of abuse, and they are deadly when misused, especially OxyContin.  We are in the midst of an opioid epidemic. Prescription

Chronic Pain: A Disease in its Own Right

Melanie Thernstrom has written a superb book based on a historical, philosophical, and scientific review of pain: The Pain Chronicles: Cures, Myths, Mysteries, Prayers, Diaries, Brain Scans, Healing, and the Science of Suffering. Herself a victim of chronic pain, she brings a personal perspective to the subject and also includes informative vignettes of doctors and