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"We as physicians need to do something": New drug could help combat opioid crisis

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Posted at 8:08 AM, Nov 16, 2020
and last updated 2020-11-16 10:43:43-05

INDIANAPOLIS — Amid the coronavirus pandemic we are still dealing with a pandemic that’s been going on for years, the opioid pandemic.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the amount of narcotics being prescribed yearly is decreasing across the country, but that doesn’t mean Americans aren’t becoming addicted and possibly overdosing at an alarming rate. And one doctor believes it’s up to physicians to combat it.

“My bicep I had surgery on here, and then my labrum he also replaced, which is here on the backside,” Zach Martin said.

He had shoulder surgery about four weeks ago.

He told me he visited Dr. Brian Badman after having constant discomfort in his arm and to his surprise there wasn’t much pain post-surgery.

“My recovery has been awesome. Ever since, I’ve never had any real pain, just slight discomfort,” Martin said.

He said he only needed to take pain medication for one day, and even then, it was just a precaution.

Dr. Badman said that’s because of a fairly new drug he uses during surgery called EXPAREL.

“We showed that at three days patients with EXPAREL block took on average about nine less pain pills,” Badman said.

Badman said it takes just eight days for someone to become addicted to opioids, so nine pills is equivalent to about three days without the drug.

“I think it's huge, I mean, it's something we as clinicians we need to do our part because I think we partly contributed to some of the some of the crisis that we're currently experiencing, and so we as physicians need to do something to lessen that burden,” Badman said.

After taking part in the study that Badman said proves EXPAREL helps with pain management, he has this message for other surgeons.

“The data is there. I mean, I think it's very strong evidence to show that if you have access to this or your anesthesia colleagues have access to this, I think it's something that you should definitely provide or at least discuss with your patient," Badman said.

As for Martin, he said he’s glad his surgeon is working to ease the opioid crisis.

"I think it's great and it will definitely help for the overuse with people getting addicted to these drugs. With the medicine they used for me during the surgery, I mean, this is a good way to combat that and start knocking out the drug use," Martin said.