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The answer to opioids

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Letter to the editor

In regard to the ever-growing problem of the misuse and overdosing of opioids to deal with pain, a quote from Shakespeare comes to mind, "What fools these mortals be!"

You don't have to use expensive, opium-based drugs — or any other addictive drug — to deal with pain or to enhance your mood.

The drugs I use have no bad side effects and are free. And they are also mood-enhancing. I use them all the time.

Where do I get them?

First, let me say this: physical pain is a good thing. Its purpose is to tell you that there is something wrong with your body, usually in the area of the pain, and that you need to do what is necessary to fix it.

Where do you get them?

Okay. The body not only has the ability make us feel pain, it also produces its own pain killers — endorphins — which have no bad side effects. And you don't have to get a prescription for them. You invoke them by doing the right thing.

For example, if a kid falls and skins his knee, it hurts. He does the right thing by running, crying, to his mother. She cleans the scratch, applies an antibiotic and covers the injury with a bandage. And since Mom has done the right thing, his body will use endorphins to stop the pain. No opioids needed.

Another example: You get a toothache. You do the right thing by calling your dentist and making an appointment to take care of the problem. Often, that is sufficient incentive for the body to ease the pain immediately.

A pharmacist once told me that overuse of addictive pain killers or mood enhancing drugs, legal or illegal, will cause the body to stop producing endorphins and not be able to turn off body pain or stop your mood from sinking into the pits. You'll have to depend on your addictive drugs for that.

I don't know how long it takes to cure an addiction to opioids or how long to reactivate the body's own pain killers and mood enhancers, but, it would be foolish for an opioid addict, or for society, not to make the effort to find an answer to those questions. And find ways to limit, or end, the use of addictive drugs — and increase the use of the body's own resources for pain relief and mood enhancement.