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In Drug Recovery, But Prescribed Opioids At The Hospital14:00
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Officials estimate there were 1,256 opioid overdose deaths in Massachusetts in 2014 alone. (Rich Pedroncelli/AP)
Officials estimate there were 1,256 opioid overdose deaths in Massachusetts in 2014 alone. (Rich Pedroncelli/AP)
This article is more than 3 years old.

What happens when an ex-heroin addict is prescribed opioids?

Seth Mnookin has been in remission since 1997 but a recent surgery for kidney stones left him dreading the prescription opioids he knew would follow. He wrote about it in a piece for STAT News, saying:

"While everyone’s demons, secrets and temptations are unique, I’ve seen enough friends stumble after years of sobriety to know there is one chain of events that is especially dangerous: a surgical procedure followed by a round of medically necessary pain pills."

Mnookin was given three prescriptions for Oxycodone following the surgery over the course of less than two weeks. But when the pain continued and he was given a fourth prescription, he declined. Instead, he faced mild withdrawal. Mnookin says that despite being treated at one of the top-rated hospitals in the country, no one had spoken to him about his risk as an ex-addict, about relapse, or managing prescriptions.

Guests

Seth Mnookin, co-director of the MIT graduate program in science writing, author of several books including, "The Panic Virus: The True Story Behind The Vaccine-Autism Controversy." He tweets @sethmnookin.

Sarah Wakeman, medical director for substance use disorders at Massachusetts General Hospital. She tweets @drsarahwakeman.

This segment aired on June 15, 2016.

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