In the wake of the dangerous opioid epidemic that is currently plaguing the United States, some doctors have decided to forgo prescribing opioids and are instead turning to long-established drugs like Novocain and ibuprofen to perform surgeries, Bloomberg reports. They're also increasingly advising patients to seek massage and mediation treatments to supplement pain medication.
"Opioids are being shunned," said Lynn Webster, an anesthesiologist and vice president at PRA Health Sciences Inc. "Physicians are avoiding prescribing them for fear of losing their licenses."
Their reasoning: Drug overdoses are now the leading cause of death among Americans under 50, and the numbers are expected to worsen in 2017, according to the NY Times. Meanwhile, doctors are still writing hundreds of millions opioid prescriptions every year. This leaves doctors vulnerable to malpractice and other criminal charges. The alternative drug push is key to protecting doctors from losing their licenses, and patients from getting hooked.