The use of narcotic painkillers, or opioids, has boomed over the past decade. Doctors and drug makers have been promoting them for a new use: treating long-term pain from back injuries, arthritis and other health problems. Some patients are greatly helped by painkillers like Percocet, OxyContin and Vicodin. But an award-winning New York Times reporter argues that there is increasing evidence that these drugs, along with being widely abused, are often ineffective in treating long-term pain and can have serious side effects.
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Excerpt from "Pain Killer: A "Wonder" Drug's Trail of Addiction and Death" by Barry Meier. Copyright 2013 by Barry Meier. Reprinted here by permission of Rodale Books. All rights reserved.