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Impacts of Narcotics

dilaurodilauro ConnecticutPosts: 9,842
First of all, I need to say that everything I say here is based on my personal experiences and is NOT representing what any doctor has to say.

A sold member here ( WolfpackSVB ) gave me the urge to create this thread.

Narcotics has been one of the more active topics here as well as in the papers. So much to be said about the DEA and how difficult it is to fill a prescription at your pharmacy. But that is not what I want to talk about here.

Its the effect of your pain medication.

I think anyone who has taken any narcotic(opiate) drug can testify that in the beginning the effects are pretty strong. You get that euphoric feeling, light headiness, cloudy, on cloud nine, etc. That can last a few hours. Besides taking your pain away, it sends you off on a trip, not like Timothy Leary, but still something that soothes you.

But then you notice that after the next pill(s) you do not get that same feeling . Here is where the danger can come into play.

So, if you take those pills and you have pain relief, fine, but you are not getting that same high feeling, begin warning....
When you want that high feeling, that is when you start to ask your doctor for more and stronger dosages. Thats when real trouble can begin.

I've been on narcotics probably half of my life. And yes, I can remember all those times when I had the medication and it drifted me off. But I can also say that 99% of the time, I am not in any 'drifted' state. What I do feel is less pain and I am more comfortable.
I have had several tests done by doctors and by law enforcement personnel to judge any impairment due to narcotics. At this point in my life and with a relatively low maintenance dosage ( Oxycodone 5mg prn).

I can get into a much deeper relaxed higher state by mediating , using aroma therapy along with relaxation music.

Pain medications

  • - Those people that come down on anyone that is using them.
    - Those that want them now, more and stronger so they not only don't feel pain, they don't feel life!
    - Those that recognize their purpose and work with their doctors. They only want to enjoy each day
    - Those that want to horde them, maybe steal them, perhaps buy them illegally or even sell them.
    - Those that are in pain, but for their own beliefs, will not take narcotics
    - Then luckily , those that understand

I invite everyone to talk about their concerns/issues/comments regarding narcotic medications.

I am asking everyone here that do not ridicule anyone for their opinions about this subject. Everyone here is entitled to their honest opinion. We are not here to judge anyone for being right or wrong. Yes, there are other threads that we do interject , but please let this not be one of them.
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


  • itsautonomicitsautonomic LouisianaPosts: 1,806
    Look forward to this thread evolving just to learn the different point of views and see some other perspective.
    I will be the first and I will speak of my thoracix injury and leave this time with neurological issues out for now. I was in a lot of pain and sitting in school all day just elevates that pain, but I watched a childhood stained by fathers drug use so I knew for me taking pain killers was scary number one and it just felt like I would give into something I despised my entire life, but I did not judge others on them,I also felt that I would be treated better by doctors if I wasnt on pain killers( this was formed by my inexperience with medical field and the way I felt I was treated by being young amd in pain) But the single biggest reason I did not take them on regular basis was that was my measuring stick , if I could make it without them no matter the pain I was going to get better and had not accepted defeat ( I speak only for myself in that times mind frame don't want to offend anyone). I did get pain meds a few times during that time adm it felt so much better physically to take but mentally the guilt weighed so heavily I would only take when those days I couldn't get through pain. But I worked everyday to heal and I felt I could beat the pain one day. I had severe downs and minor ups but i didn't turn to them and eventually found right treatmet . But I often wonder how foolish I must hve been to not take the pain killers or ask for them when I was at my worst times . Just a lot of preconceived notions based on my past probably kept me suffering at times I didn't need to or missing out on things I didn't have to. Right or wrong I don't know .
    Do your due dilegence, trust you know your body and question everything if it does not fit. Advocate for yourself and you will be suprised what will be revealed trusting your body and instinct.
  • I have been on and off opiates for about half my life, for various surgeries, injuries, CRPS/intractable pain, and now chronic spine pain, at low doses, medium, and very, very large doses at different times in my life, depending on the condition that I was/am taking them for.
    I believe that pain medications have a place, I view them as a tool, that eases the pain enough that I can manage some of the things that I need to do in my personal and family life , but I also know that they are one small part of managing the pain that I live with. One slice of the pie.
    Acute post injury pain and chronic pain are so different, and the body's response to pain medications is different in the two situations.
    I keep in mind that this pain isn't going away, no amount of pain meds is going to make it disappear, so for me, I want and actively work to keep my doses as low as I can, while still allowing me to function as best I can.
    I never liked feeling woozy, or detached from life, or impaired feeling. If I did, it would make me run from that particular medication, since that to me is a sign that there is potential for a problem.
    In all my years dealing with pain, all of my experiences , one thing I've learned is large doses of opiates does not equal more pain relief for me.
    Small dose increases are necessary, after being on a med for an extended time frame, but frequent dose increases, or frequent changes to more "potent" meds can be a sign of a bigger issue, whether it be a significant change in someone's condition, or a warning sign of problems to come with the meds themselves.

  • In the beginning of opiate therapy I found that I had a hard time being patient with others and developed a short fuse. After recognizing that I was able to nip it in the bud but I still have to stay on guard for lapses in judgement. My marriage also took a hit. It was a long time before my wife accepted them and that helped to cause a strain in our relationship. I am also not an A student anymore but for me that is less important than not being able to compete. I will get it back once I am finished with them.

    On the physical side there were a few times that the pain just wouldn't stop and I refused to live with it. So I kept matching it with another hydrocodone, imagine two 20-year-olds going shot for shot in a tequila bar. This was before I had ever heard of a pain management doctor. Going back to the story I finally knocked out the pain but the hydrocodone nearly did me in. The world was spinning too fast and when the full force of the narcotics finally kicked in I was in trouble. Fortunately surgery was only a few weeks away.

    But since the subject title is Impact of Narcotics and not necessarily a negative one I'll mention the positive side also. My healing has been rapid, I've been able to go to social events, spend time with the family, and above all keep working. I could not have done so without them.

    In contrast to standard treatment protocols opiods are the only analgesic tool that I use. I do not take Lyrica, Gabapentin, NSAIDS or other pain medications. Sometimes I would use Ambien to fall asleep before the waves of pain but that is a hypnotic and was in my tool set prior to the cervical injury.
    So I guess you could say that another impact would be that I tended to go to bed around 9 each night and not stay out late. If you notice that I am writing in the past tense it is because I am finally on the last legs of my journey. The cervical issue is gone and the pain in my shoulder only has a couple more months left.


  • dilauro said:
    ... I think anyone who has taken any narcotic(opiate) drug can testify that in the beginning the effects are pretty strong. You get that euphoric feeling, light headiness, cloudy, on cloud nine, etc. That can last a few hours. Besides taking your pain away, it sends you off on a trip, not like Timothy Leary, but still something that soothes you.

    But then you notice that after the next pill(s) you do not get that same feeling. ...
    That is not my experience with pentazocine/naloxone. I only take it (150 to 200 mg) before walking for exercise to control sciatic (piriformis?) leg pain. I walk 10 miles three times per week. I need this exercise to control T2 diabetes and hyperlipidemia. Without a narcotic pain killer, I would die sooner due to lack of exercise therefore this is a life or death, not a quality of life, issue for me. I have been walking on pentazocine/naloxone for four years. The very small amount of euphoria that I experienced with the first dose has not diminished. The analgesia effect has, maybe, slowly diminished by 25%. There has been very noticeable light headedness (also undiminished) but no loss of balance. In walking 6000 miles under the influence of pentazocine/naloxone, I have fallen only three times, once while kicking an attacking dog away and twice while climbing over 3' snow banks along the street left by snow plows. I think that that is pretty good for someone over 65 years old, even without medications.
  • of having just gotten off narcotics. I stopped hydrocodone and methadone primarily because my cardiologist suggested that it would be better for my heart. I had no psychological desire to take one from the minute of my last dose but I certainly have had extended withdrawal type symptoms. After all, I was on pain medication for 7 years! I have determined that I will not be able to have a reasonable comfortable and productive life without at least hydrocodone "as needed" for the type of pain that wakes one up in the middle of the night. I will defend to the end the place of proper pain management in conjunction with a good pain management doc. None of us asked for these types of mechanical injuries that are so very painful but we all have a right to fight for a reasonable quality of life while on this earth. This is a wonderful thread that will help lots of people understand the difference between "being a good patient" and slipping down the slope of psychological dependence.
  • dilaurodilauro ConnecticutPosts: 9,842
    everyone who has taken narcotics can 'enjoy' the feeling of being a bit into the ozone layer for a while. Its a good feeling, especially when you have dealt with chronic pain for many years.

    And for new people with pain, its another good feeling.

    Now, its what you do with that good feeling. I know of people that started down the route of narcotics for their pain, they enjoy the high and in a short time, they started to want more. And when the doctors refused, they looked elsewhere. The danger is really kicking in now.

    Look, I can understand anyone who does not want to be in pain. Its no fun. So, to have medication that will take away that pain, is good. But after a while, you realize that those pain medications done really take away the pain, they just make it more tolerable to live with.

    In my earlier, carefree days, I also looked for more medications. I liked not feeling pain, but I also like the high that was associated with it. Those days were pretty short lived and as I grew older, I better understood the role of narcotics.

    Its can be a very slippery rock. If you are not careful, its easy to fall into the needs/wants of narcotics, but if you are careful, you can move forward towards safety.
    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
  • I hate feeling like hazy , so perhaps that's why I never got into drugs or alcohol when I was younger. I like being in control of all my faculties. I guess having alcoholic parents can do that to you, seeing too much out of control behavior, not being aware of what's going on , can either make you want to have that same behavior or make you despise it.
    If I started getting a buzz or hazy feeling from these meds, it would be time for me to really examine why I am taking them. That's just my personal opinion, but for me, it would be a red flag.
    I firmly believe that we all are entitled to medications to treat these issues causing us pain, but I also believe we have to be responsible with them, and use them for the right reasons.

  • My writing may not have been clear. There is no seeking out of higher dosages going on. I've been with one pain clinic and take what is prescribed. When the pain level drops as is happening now the amount taken per day also drops. However if the pain were to increase for some odd reason I would have no qualms in going back to the levels that were needed previously.

    It would have made no sense to take other medicines when those medicines served no useful purpose other than to appease society. I'm not knocking Lyrica when a person is treating Fibromyalgia but when you have pieces of your disc sticking in your spine or have a ball of arthritis cut out of your shoulder you are either going to take narcotics or you will be in pain. And if a person no longer has inflammation why the heck should they continue taking a steroid or an NSAID.

    I also wasn't put on this earth to concern myself with people that end up with addictions. That life is not for me. I would argue that those people would have found a means to wreck their lives with or without narcotics. In a contrary sense I could argue that had it not been for opiates my life would have been wrecked. I would have lost a lot.

    Best Wishes,

  • SavageSavage United StatesPosts: 5,427
    ...of my pain management, I was relieved to receive my fentanyl patch and my Hydrocodone for breakthrough pain after years of suffering.

    The patch never gave me any kind of high, but took the edge off the pain.
    Initially, I thought I was supposed to be pain free, so I regularly took the breakthrough med, as prescribed.

    I was able to move around, stand and sit much better, and also the twisting, bending and lifting was tolerable.
    It took me a little while to realize I needed to have some degree of pain so I remained aware of spinal issues and would not do anything to aggravate it.

    At first the Hydrocodone would make me happy. Happy that pain was gone, happy to feel more energized, and happy with life in general!
    Quickly that turned to become Hydrocodone causing me to become more emotional, tearful, more serious.

    I have never done drugs earlier in life, but I can compare it to having a couple of drinks.

    Doctor must have said it before, but early on he very clearly told me to stop! Stop with the activities that are no good for the spine despite my feeling able or not. And our goal was to have the edge taken off pain, not to be pain free.

    Accepting my restrictions, and lifetime limitations, and continuance of pain on daily basis, even with the edge off, that took awhile for me.

    I have loving friends and family who still do not understand my medication therapy at all.
    They say, __you look great. Why take all that stuff?

    That used to make me feel guilty and I would try to see if I could do without meds, but I do need them. Doctor understands me, so that's good enough for me now.
    I have a better quality to my life and I'm so grateful for that.

    Most of my loved ones don't realize the balance of meds, distractions, the blend, :) along with my acceptance of the new me and acceptance and contentment I found within the pain, all contribute to often times being able to smile through it.

    But I no longer expect them to understand. It's enough they stand by me.
    It took me years to get a handle on it. And honestly, if I didn't live it, I wouldn't understand it either.

    Spine-Health Moderator
    Please read my medical history at: Medical History

  • Motor1MMotor1 Pittsburgh, PaPosts: 552
    Two years ago, before I was injured, I never really gave pain meds a second thought? Now after 3 surgeries, I've been on many different pain meds. I don't know if it's because I'm on the smaller size ( 5' tall & 100lbs), but when I would first start on a pain med, it would kick my butt! But I didn't like that feeling of being "out of it". It did, however, help me get some much needed sleep. But of course, once my body got adjusted to taking the med, that feeling went away.
    I had a pain management doctor that was only interested in giving me more meds. He had me on some pretty powerful narcotics. When I would tell him that I didn't like all of the side effects from them, he would say deal with it. Needless to say, I found a new pain doctor.
    I also have a very worry wart, uptight sister who seems to think that since I'm taking narcotics, that means I'm automatically going to be addicted to them? I can't make her understand that I just had rotator cuff surgery 3 weeks ago & I'm in therapy 3 times a week so I need to be on pain meds.
    Thankfully, I have a wonderful husband that supports me & helps me through all of this.
  • My husband and family truly understand the need for the medications in order for me to function. My PM doctor had all of my family come after my first surgery, went over the importance of the extended restrictions, recovery etc, but he also explained what could not recover/be repaired during surgery and that it would mean long term opiate management...he answered any questions, dispelled any fears or concerns. I found that part to be so helpful for them, especially our kids who were all 10 years younger, and in school, all they were bring told is about drugs =addiction, and they were scared that my taking opiates would make me an addict, and my pm was great at explaining the difference between someone who has a medical condition that requires the use of opiates and someone who takes drugs for other reasons.....
    I wish that all pm doctors would do a couple of things, the first is to bring family in, go over the basics of someone's condition and why these meds are being prescribed. I think that might help a lot of the fears of our families who only read or hear about prescription drug abuse/misuse, and they would really take the time to educate their patients on when to use breakthrough meds and when not to. In my 10 plus years on various spine boards, the biggest problem that I see, over and over, is doctors not explaining the right use of breakthrough meds, which often results in patients using them for any pain felt on top of their long acting, and quickly contributes to faster , more frequent increased doses, and the cycle repeats....
    I also have cut down substantially on the medications at different stages , and at times have gone back up when necessary.
    One day, I hope to be able to find a way to get off them altogether. It may be wishful thinking on my part but it is my goal.

  • kathyy said:
    ... I stopped hydrocodone and methadone primarily because my cardiologist suggested that it would be better for my heart.
    ... we all have a right to fight for a reasonable quality of life while on this earth. ...
    Without opioids, are you exercising less? If so, isn't that worse for your heart? I point out that this is life or death issue rather than a "quality of life" issue.
  • I'm headed back to the original topic which was sharing our experience of the effects of narcotics. By now everyone is aware of the positive results that I have had in my life so I won't rehash that. I'll share a few of the tribulations but I don't wish to be beaten up on it either.

    I became less patient and more easily angered until I recognized it through the help of a psychologist. Also I am not as sharp when on the narcotics as opposed to when I am not. But I wouldn't even be in the meeting room without them and my brain would be so distracted by pain that I would be ineffective in that manner also.

    I had to fire my general practitioner whom I had for eight years and really liked and it really hurt that my wife didn't support me.

    I don't know about others but even the tough Wolfpack was scared when I first made the decision to go on opiates 24 hours a day. It was either that or drive off the nearest bridge I couldn't live with the pain anymore. It was a really bad time because it was still unknown if the problem could be fixed. I didn't know if I was looking at a lifetime of opiates or not. So I sat down and penned myself a letter basically saying that with conscious mind I am deciding to use opiate therapy.

    Even with the high amounts I take I am still highly functional and have very few side effects. My pharmacist says she doesn't know how I do it. My response is me neither. My PM Dr. tells me I'm on the medium to low scale of his patients. He must have some severe cancer patients or soldiers that have been shot up.

    About the biggest concern that I have with the opiates is that they can mask pain from other injuries. This happened to me with the shoulder. Once the neck fused I went back to the gym and with light weights tore the remaining labrum strands off the bone. I was fortunate that they were still able to repair it and not have to throw the labrum away. Had I not been on the opiates I'm sure I would've recognized the continual shoulder pain.

    Circling back to the positives. One of the greatest ones is that I now understand people that have to take them. Prior to my condition I thought of the soldiers that have been shot up and on meds as somehow not being a person anymore. How many times have you heard a person say "he's on pain meds he won't know what's going on"? I have learned that is far from the truth.

    I had intended to write an essay on the topic but maybe these last few threads will do. My final thoughts are that I made the right choice and I don't have a problem with having enjoyed them every once in a while.

    Things are changing rapidly for me, even in the past two days the pain level dropped dramatically. This is likely due to the increased mobility as we are finally breaking through and I can now put my arm behind my head. My days on the narcotics are coming to an end.

    That's pretty fast on the physical therapy. Did I cheat and double up on the hydrocodone before each visit? Absolutely. 20 mg prior to each visit and 20 four hours later. It was my PM Dr. that doubled my short-term dose prior to physical therapy starting. I had not even ask him about it and quite frankly had not thought about needing more. I incorrectly assumed that I would need less the further out from surgery. He turned out to be right again, the increased movement caused increased pain.

    It's a beautiful summer day and life is looking up. I feel little pain at this particular moment and that is good. When it gets time to go off the narcotics completely I will write about that experience. I suspect that will either be in August or September.

    Be well,

  • WolfpackSVBWWolfpackSVB Posts: 216
    edited 06/30/2015 - 11:05 AM
    I have sometimes enjoyed the side benefits of the opiates and I have not felt guilty about it. I suppose I have no shame because I know the hell a person has to go through to be there or maybe it's because they are not that meaningful to me.

    I liken the occasional enjoyment to the welfare lady who has a piece of cake in her cart every now and then.

    I think the whole addiction thing is overrated and that current views in society are causing a lot of people to be in unnecessary pain. What is more real though is the possibility of an accidental overdose leading to death and the masking of other pain thereby potentially missing a separate illness.


  • I have found this site so useful and informative during the past year. I've read a lot but only commented a few times- today I wanted to share my experience and thoughts. I am a 49 year old woman- and been in pain for twenty years, but I have only been in pain management for two years. My neck hurt since my twenties - I just endured it, I thought everyone's neck hurt. As time moved on so did my pain. It spread to my thoracic and lumbar. Five years ago I stared chiropractic- nothing - also I am very athletic - was a fitness instructor now teach yoga part time- and have a full time management job. Two years ago finally got MRIs- herniated disks-Cervical, thoracic and lumbar arthritis in all level of spine, stenosis, tarlov cysts, pinched nerve in right leg, it actually goes on...finally pain management - currently take oxycontin , oxycodone, for breakthrough pain and flexeril- i can get put of bed, do yoga and work and support my family - I never feel altered or high ...im never totally pain free - but I can function, work and support my children. Without medication I can honestly say I would be bed ridden most of the day. I exercise and my heating pad is my best friend ... So it's not just meds it's a combo, and it works. I wanted to share because "we" should never feel bad about having pain medication as part of our treatment plan. Thank you all for your posts ...you have helped me so much this year!
  • As has been said here very, very often, meds are one small part of managing pain, regular excercise, stretching, swimming, yoga, pilatrs, or just walking have to play a role in managing pain, as well as using other modalities. There is no one single thing, it is the combination of them that works.

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