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Friend is Scaring Me

AnonymousUserAAnonymousUser Posts: 49,671
edited 06/11/2012 - 8:38 AM in Scoliosis
I had a question regarding the treatment of scoliosis with a daily regimen of high dose, high strength oxycodone tablets.

My friend has scoliosis, so he says, and he believes that narcotic pain medicine helps to ease the pain. He wants to get a prescription, to avoid obtaining this medication through otherwise risky and dangerous means.

So, I just wanted to ask someone who might know more about this stuff than I do. I don't have back pain and don't know much about treatment options and which ones are better for certain circumstances. I know opiate pain management is an option, but I would like to know if it is really the best option for my friend. He is very adamant about getting this prescription to oxycodone.

Now, I might not know much, but I know there are many other options to pain management other than using powerful narcotics. The thing is, he's been abusing them for awhile now, so I don't believe he really is trying to get it just for his back pain.

I think he might actually be delusional. Whenever I try to talk to him about it, he gets really defensive and upset. He uses reasons like "Oh, my doctors said that as I grow my condition will get progressively worse". My friend is in his 20's, I'm pretty sure he's done growing. I tell him there are other options to managing his pain, and he vehemently asserts that oxycodone treatment is the only thing that will help. He says if he just had a script he wouldn't abuse it he would take it as instructed by his doctor. I've asked him how he thinks that he can go from abusing several pills a day to taking just a few as need for pain. He hasn't given me a sufficient answer so far. He actually says if he does get a script he has to be on it for the rest of his life, he wants to because "Oh it helps my back pain so much I NEED it".

I'm really just concerned for my friend here. I don't think he's in a good place physically or mentally. He pretty much sleeps all day and accomplishes very little in the hours he's awake due to his abuse of prescription pills. He is a crackhead, seriously. He is always strung out and stressed and constantly in a bad mood. I think if he actually had a prescription it would be the end of him. I can just see him continuing to abuse the medication, and opiate abuse only goes in one direction, a spiral straight downward. I know, I've been there myself.

So please, if you've made it this far, and you are knowledgeable and care, please, please tell me: 1. Given my friends history of opiate abuse, would any doctor in their right mind EVER prescribe him high dose opiates like oxycodone? 2. Am I over reacting? Is what he's saying really true, and that his pain can be best managed with prescription drugs. And 3. What would be some better alternatives that I can recommend to him, if there are any?


  • Hi James,

    Yes, your friend sounds as if he's abusing it. His doctor has given him whatever he thinks appropriate for his condition and you're absolutely correct in assuming there are many other ways to manage back pain.

    In point of fact, most people use a multifaceted approach in order to manage their pain. Some use exercises, different medications (instead of, or in addition to opiates), anti-inflammatories, heat patches, cold packs, rest, proper matresses and even plain old acetaminophen / paracetamol / tylenol. There's an article on scoliosis which may help you to help him....


    In addition, you're absolutely right about him finishing growing too! Males grow until they're 19 years old, unlike females, whose growth stops much earlier. Frankly, it sounds as if your friend's finding as many excuses as humanly possible to keep on taking it!

    So yes, from what you've posted above and said earlier, your friend is almost certainly abusing it. If you want to read up on it, there are articles on addiction on this site (type in 'addiction' in the blue search box above).

    He's very lucky to have you as a friend to care about this. His next step should be to see a doctor about his pain and he should try to wean off oxycontin, which will be easier said than done if he's been abusing it for any length of time. He should therefore come off it under the advice and supervision of his doctor.

    Good luck!


  • While use of narcotics is an option, it is not useful for those people who have an addiction to begin with. The thing is- addiction hits the same centers in the brain, as the pain, and emotions/psycological. It is all tied together.

    For someone who is in his 20's to have such severe pain, is really unfortunate, on 2 fronts.

    At this persons age - I was just learning to live with my injury and had changed work- in order to survive the changes to my body. I have continued to work for the last 25 years.

    Yes - I am on Narcotics - but they have only been added - in my later life to deal with the issues as they presented. I would rather not be on them, but they have significant benefit - AT THIS POINT.

    This young persons DR is the person- who needs to hear this information from you. I don't know that it would be considered interfering, but I know that in rehab - it is one of those things that does help people in addiction recovery.

    Cheers - C45
  • I agree that their Dr needs to know this info.
    Maybe a letter to him?

    With your friends already addictive habits I can not image a Dr. giving him the drug he is seeking - but I could be wrong.

    Also for his claimed back issue - this strong of a med is not often a Drs. first choice.

    I took much lower meds for the first 5 yrs of my injury trying to deal with the pain. Finally 5 yrs in I caved and admitted it was not going to get better and it was getting much worse.

    My point in sharing that is most Drs don't like to jump right to the big guns...

    Your friend seems to be in need of a lot of help.
    L1 - S2 "gone" useless in 1 way or another. DDD. RA. Bone Spurs. Tons of nerve damage/issues. Stenosis. Both knees replaced. 50 yrs old. I had a great fall (hence my user name) at age 41 and it has been a domino effect every since.
  • dilaurodilauro ConnecticutPosts: 9,859
    has some type of problem. There are tons of medications that are available to treat that condition. But first your friend needs to go to a doctor and review them all.
    Since we monitor all forums posts and chat logs, we get to see what we view as 'drug seekers' Those are the people that all they want is the high powered drugs, really cant explain why, havent had sound medical rationale for them, but will do whatever they need to get them.
    Thats a big red flag to me and if he is your friend, I would suggest you help him find other safer ways
    Ron DiLauro Spine-Health System Administrator
    I am not a medical professional. I comment on personal experiences
    You can email me at: rdilauro@veritashealth.com
  • He's gone to several doctors, each time hoping that they would prescribe him oxycodone. Fortunately, he hasn't run into a crooked doctor who will write him a script for anything. Unfortunately, he hasn't embraced the legitimate help these doctors have tried to give him.

    He's gotten Robaxin and Tramadol from one doctor, lists of stretching exercises from a chiropractor, suggestions like hot and cold compress, melatonin to aid in sleep. He's gotten plenty of legitimate advice and medication.

    But he hasn't taken any of this advice, or medication. He is completely, 100% deadset on getting oxycodone. And in his mind, it's the only solution. I mean, he hasn't even tried other forms of therapy. The Robaxin and Tramadol he recieved he just mixes with black market oxycodone to increase the already dangerous high.

    I am not him, so I can never truly know just how painful his condition is. But, being an addict myself, I know there are probably underlying reasons for wanting nothing but oxycodone. For one thing, getting it is expensive and a pain in the ass. Not to mention, highly illegal. Withdrawl from such a powerful opiate can be very uncomfortable and emotionally draining. When you're on as much medication as me and him are taking (were for me, I've been trying to stop), it really affects your mood a lot. It's a really powerful high, it's almost too good when you abuse it. It makes you not care about anything. It enslaves you, and it doesn't want to let go once it has a hold of you. As many of you know, you can develop not only a psychological need for the drug but a crippling physical dependency as well.

    Like I said, he's still trying to get a prescription to oxycodone. He simply refuses any other course of treatment the doctors have recommended. Besides taking the muscle relaxers and tramadol in conjunction with the opiates to achieve a greater effect, he has not legitimately followed the directions on the bottle. All this paperwork one physician gave him, giving detailed instructions and visual images on all sorts of stretches and body exercises he can do, he doesn't implement.

    I honestly believe he's using his supposed medical condition just as an excuse to try and get pain medication. I think the worst part is he has actually convinced himself that oxycodone is the only effective course of treatment, when he hasn't even tried other suggestions or options. Or, if he did try them, he didn't embrace them and continue to use them. The only conclusion I can come to is he doesn't prefer other treatments because they don't involve large quantities of opiates coursing through his bloodstream and brain. He's stated himself that he thinks he needs to be on opiates for the rest of his life... it might not sound that bad in text, but when you actually hear words like that out of a friends mouth, it's very disturbing and scary.

    I'm not his parent, I'm not his sibling, I'm just a friend. I'm not going to interfere with his life, I'm not going to talk to his doctors or his parents, it's just not my place. I'm actually here, in part, on his brothers behalf. He's most worried about him. I'm asking these questions so I can show him what other people have to say about it, so he can know that he's not alone in thinking it's a bad idea.

    So, thank you for all the responses and suggestions everyone. I will probably continue to do research regarding the situation. I hope that eventually my friend or his brother might benefit from these questions and information. All that can be done at this point, though, is to pray for him. It will probably have the least effect, I'm sure, but there's simply nothing greater I can do for him at this point in time.

    Again, thank you.

  • Well James, you're certainly one great friend.

    Good luck!

    Bye, Val
  • He sounds addicted and that is a problem in itself.

    If you were able to convince him to speak to a doctor about his use of narcotics in order to treat his pain that would probably the best course of action.

    You sound like a really concerned friend, good on you. Hope it works out!
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