Pain medication could be linked to suicide risk

Health care providers have been reducing the amount of opioids being prescribed to patients and that could be leading people to consider suicide.

Experts say it is common for people with chronic pain to experience depression.

But if doctors are properly prescribing patients and tapering off dosages as needed, there shouldn’t be an increase risk of suicide.

“We want people to be able to function, tolerate their pain, but keeping them safe on their medications. So we want to encourage alternative methods such as physical therapy, yoga, other options to treat the whole patient,” said Dr. Kim Hardy, a family medicine physician at Gundersen Health System.

Other local organizations, like Tri-State Ambulance, have embraced alternatives to opioids. The provider has been offering essential oils as option to treat pain in some cases.

If you or a loved one is feeling suicidal, please call the National Suicide Prevention Hotline at 1-800-273-8255.

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