Smart Woman: Are painkillers safe?

Smart Woman: Are painkillers safe?

Use of painkillers has skyrocketed recently. Find out if they're really safe.
Jason Kusiak became addicted to painkillers in high school after they were prescribed when he broke his arm and leg.

Jason Kusiak, a former addict from painkillers, says, "The pain kind of went away but I still had the medicine and I just kept taking it and taking it."

Consumer Reports says 46 people die each day in the US from opioid drugs such as OxyContin, Vicodin and Percocet.

Dr. Marvin Lipman, the Chief Medical Adviser from Consumer Reports, says, "This is a drug that needs to be monitored carefully, to make sure that patients aren't taking more than they should and they should be withdrawn at the earliest time when they are no longer needed."

The report finds when used correctly opioids relieve short term pain.. but to manage some conditions including migraines and nerve pain, other medications may be safer. Sean Clarkin from Partnership for Drug Free Kids says alternatives are important. 

Sean Clarkin from the Partnership for Drug Free Kids says, "Let's not assume that prescription pain relievers are the only answer to every kind of condition that involves pain."

When it comes to over the counter pain relievers, consumer reports is also warning about accidentally overdosing on acetaminophen saying it's found in hundreds of medications and labels can be confusing.

Kusiak hopes more people heed the warnings and don't get hooked on prescription painkillers like he did.  

Kusiak says, "It's not a cureall. Taking this drug isn't going to make you feel completely better."

The 30 year old has been in recovery for 4 years.

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