Many disabled individuals experience chronic or severe pain as a symptom of their condition. Prescription opioid painkillers are commonly used to treat these side effects. However, these drugs have become notorious in recent years for their addictive nature. Utah, unfortunately, is ranked 4th in the nation in prescription drug overdose deaths. When used properly, painkillers can be very helpful, which leads to difficult decisions for many people. They start asking hard questions: Should I seek potentially dangerous painkiller treatment, or try to find a safer alternative? Are there even “safe painkillers?” This post takes a look back at the history of prescription painkillers and a look ahead at its future.
The History of Opioids
Opium was used historically to treat a number of pains and illnesses, in many places around the world. Starting in the 1800s, morphine was used to treat pain, as well as opium addiction. Later, people began using heroin to treat morphine addiction. A cycle began to emerge — opioids were used to treat addiction, but then people just became addicted to the opioids. The historical search for safe painkillers has not been entirely successful.
Recent Developments in Safe Painkillers
Scientists are continuing to try to find safe alternatives to treating pain. They understand that previous attempts failed because all opioids interact with the brain in the same way. A painkiller that doesn’t cause the euphoric effect of other opioids may be able to eliminate or at least reduce the risk of addiction. One research team seems to have found a possible solution. The chemical PZM21 did not cause notable behavioral changes in laboratory mice. The mice also did not have a preference between this chemical and plain saltwater, indicating that the chemical is not addictive.
Of course, mice are not people. It remains to be seen when, or if, this drug will be available on the market.
Your Disability Law Resources
Pain can make it very difficult to function on a daily basis. If you have a disability that causes severe pain, you may qualify for Social Security disability benefits. These benefits help disabled individuals support themselves when they are unable to work because of their medical condition.
The attorneys at Summit Disability Law Group are dedicated to helping people win disability claims. Contact Summit Disability Law Group or request a free copy of our book today. We will gladly answer your questions and help you navigate the application and appeals process.