News Release: Doctor supports recommendation of limiting opioid treatment for chronic pain

In an effort to curb the widespread abuse of opioids, the Centers for Disease Control released a recommendation to doctors on Tuesday to find non-opioid alternatives before turning to narcotics for chronic pain.

A local pain specialist tells NewsChannel 13’s Benita Zahn it's about time the CDC took action.

Dr. Edward Apicella is a pain management specialist and many of his patients, like Chad Burr, suffer with chronic back pain.

“They're doing everything they can to give me the best treatment possible for what I have now rather than just filling script from another doctor,” explained Burr.

Dr. Apicella says not relying on narcotic pain relievers is key to long term relief.

“There are many other medications, other modalities of treatment that are effective and studies have shown that long term narcotic use is of no benefit whatsoever and actually may be harmful,” Apicella noted.

While those drugs do have a role in pain management, Dr. Apicella says they should not be first line treatment for chronic pain and when he does prescribe them, it's under tight guidelines after determining who is an appropriate patient and what's the appropriate drug.

“We have a series of tests that we do to be sure that they are complying with the prescribed doses. We do urine tests. We see them and we're constantly checking those patients, monthly and monitoring them,” Apicella explained.

The doctor welcomes the new CDC recommendation tightening guidelines for opioid treatment of chronic pain. So does Burr. As a football coach at a local high school, he sees the problem of easy access.

“The kids taking pills is a huge problem,” acknowledged Burr. “It's the number one drug of choice among kids in school they're easy to get and I think they're over prescribed.”

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