Here’s a just-released stat that should get your blood boiling.
Your odds of dying from an accidental opioid overdose are now higher than your odds of dying in a car wreck.
According to the latest numbers from the National Safety Council, 1 in 96 Americans will end up in an early grave because of taking too much fentanyl, hydrocodone or some other deadly drug.1
More than 400,000 are already in the ground.
But it isn’t surprising.
Andy wrote about the history of the opioid crisis – particularly OxyContin’s role – on Monday. (If you missed it, click here.) I won’t rehash what’s already been said.
Instead, I’ll share some practical, natural alternatives for pain relief. Things you can add to your diet today to avoid becoming another sad statistic.
But before we go there, I’d like to spend just a moment explaining – from a doctor’s perspective – why your odds of a fatal overdose are steadily increasing.
It’s more bad news, unfortunately.
Why Overdoses Are Soaring
New research published in Addiction – a peer-reviewed journal put out by the Society for the Study of Addiction – shows doctors who receive payments from opioid manufacturers are more willing to prescribe opioids than doctors who don’t receive payments.2
That’s far from a newsflash. But here’s what’s key, as reported by Science Daily (emphasis mine):
The report found that the association between payments and prescribing is strongest for hydrocodone and oxycodone, the most frequently prescribed opioids among Medicare patients (Americans of 65-plus years and some younger people with disabilities). The Medicare population is estimated to have the highest and fastest-growing prevalence of opioid use disorder in the U.S.
In other words, it isn’t just delinquents and middle-aged junkies getting hooked on opioids. Our senior population is at serious and growing risk.
Your doctor isn’t entirely at fault either.
And he’s certainly not evil.
Out of Time
The average MD is so overloaded with deskwork and electronic record keeping that he spends just 27% of each day with patients – if that.
This newest generation of doctors spends just eight minutes with each patient.
That’s not enough time to understand a patient’s unique needs. And it’s surely not enough time to provide safe, nuanced solutions.
So when a pressed-for-time doctor hears “pain,” he looks for the quickest possible fix.
These days, that means opioids.
I’m not making excuses for my colleagues. In medicine, just as in any profession, there are bad actors. But I can tell you this…
In my decades of clinical experience, the vast majority of doctors I’ve known are good, well-intentioned people who genuinely want the best for their patients.
That said… modern medical practices have placed numerous barriers between patients and the sound, potentially lifesaving advice they so desperately need.
It’s simpler – and more profitable – to prescribe a one-size-fits-all “solution” than it is to spend hours developing a treatment plan that will save someone from ever having to go on medication to begin with.
That’s just the reality of things. It’s why the opioid crisis shows no signs of slowing.
So to keep you from falling into that deadly trap, let’s discuss some powerful, natural painkillers that you can easily – and safely – add to your diet today.
Two Cheap, All-Natural Painkillers to Try Right Now
For effective relief without the harmful side effects of prescription pain meds, you can’t go wrong with curcumin.
In case you’re unfamiliar, curcumin is the chemical compound that gives turmeric its yellow color. It’s been used for centuries in traditional Indian medicine. And in recent years, the U.S. government has spent some $150 million weighing its potential as a drug candidate.
A study published in Oncogene – one of the world’s leading cancer journals – found that, on its own, curcumin is a more potent anti-inflammatory than aspirin or ibuprofen. And it carries none of the risks associated with either drug (which in extreme cases include stomach ulcers, heart attack and stroke).3
You can find curcumin supplements online or in any nutrition shop. Just make sure it contains piperine. That will increase the absorption into your system significantly.4
Another natural pain remedy worth trying is devil’s claw. This scary-sounding herb has been used to treat the symptoms of osteoarthritis and back pain.
An eight-week study published in Rheumatology found that after taking 60 milligrams of devil’s claw daily, more than half of participants saw a reduction in pain levels. They also reported an increase in mobility and flexibility.5
A review of the data from 14 studies and trials found that “devil’s claw appeared effective in the reduction of the main clinical symptom of pain.”6
Like curcumin, it should be available in capsule form anywhere you buy supplements.
I encourage you to try – or at least learn more about – both of these natural pain relievers. I think you’ll be impressed.
They just may save your life.
Dr. Sanjay Jain, MD, MBA
P.S. Pain is a complex issue. And when it comes to your health, unfortunately, things are rarely black and white. But I’m here for you. Send me your questions via firstname.lastname@example.org. Obviously I can’t give personalized advice, but I’ll do my best to get you a useful response in a future essay.