A new e-book, A World of Hurt, published by the New York Times in conjunction with digital publisher Vook, challenges the widespread use of opioid use for people suffering with chronic pain.

The e-book touches on a timely - and touchy subject.

Opioid use in the United States has sky-rocketed over the past decade fueled by passionate voices in the medical field and pharmaceutical industry.

(We recently published a blog post discussing a former opioid advocate's change of heart.)

In the e-book, award-winning author, Barry Meier, takes an in-depth look at the past decade's rise of opioid use and the resulting fall-out of addiction, overdoses, and increases in chronic pain. He argues that while opioids have helped some people live productive, pain-free lives, "the widespread use of these drugs, experts say, has created a nationwide legion of listless, narcotized zombies." Meier also questions whether or not opioids really help chronic pain.

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While the advocates for wider opioid use were well-meaning at the time, they could not have foreseen the significant health problems that would accompany their popularity. According to the Centers for Disease Prevention and Control, deaths from overdose involving painkillers have reached an epidemic, killing 15,000 people per year in the United States alone.

A WORLD OF HURT: FIXING PAIN MEDICINE'S BIGGEST MISTAKE by Barry Meier, is available for $1.99 at all major digital bookstores, including Amazon and iBookstore.