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Opioid addiction can begin with efforts to control pain

Theresa Baxter, nurse practitionerMany of the people who become addicted to opioids are struggling with pain, explains nurse practitioner Theresa Baxter,left, who works in the Acute Pain Service at Upstate University Hospital. She explains that opioid medications are more addictive than originally believed. They work well for people recovering from injury or surgery who need help controlling pain for a few days. But opioids are not meant for treating chronic pain, Baxter says. (Click here for a related story about Ross Sullivan, MD, an Upstate physician who is working to help opioid addicts overcome their addiction. To contact Brian Johnson, MD, an Upstate professor of anesthesiology, psychiatry and behavioral sciences who stresses an abstinence approach to overcoming opioid addiction, call 315-464-3130. Those seeking treatment for addiction can also find information on programs offered at Syracuse Behavioral Healthcare.)