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Bryan Cranston
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Liv Boeree
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Amaryllis Fox
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Chris Hadfield
Retired Canadian Astronaut & Author
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Do doctors warn patients enough about opioids?

About a third of doctors may not be doing enough.

(DrugAbuse.com)
  • More than 130 people die every day from opioid-related overdoses, and some 11.4 million Americans have an opioid disorder.
  • Americans remain wary of opioids and want more guidance; about a third of doctors need to explain options better.
  • Patients have to pro-actively question subscribing physicians.

The statistics that describe America's opioid epidemic are sobering. According to Health and Human Services numbers released in May 2018, more than 130 people die every day from opioid-related overdoses, and some 11.4 million Americans have an opioid disorder. Many in the medical community are trying harder on their end to reduce opioid prescriptions, though perhaps not all. And many patients remain uncomfortable taking the drugs, about 30%, according to 1,011 survey responses gathered by DrugAbuse.com for its recently published Painkiller Protocols visualizations. Though the majority of doctors are doing an adequate job, there's still about a third of them who could be doing more.

All infographics in this article are by DrugAbuse.com.

How uncomfortable we are about getting started with opioids

Comfort with opioids is, to some extent, generational, with baby boomers being the most concerned about beginning a course, at 39%, and millennials somewhat more okay with going on pain meds, at 29%. Overall, 54% aren't really concerned one way or another. But still, a third of people surveyed have concerns. Part of what leaves people uneasy is the degree to which their doctors have screened them as candidates for an opioid prescription—over a third were never asked the questions the accepted guidelines recommend prior to prescribing.

What did the doctor explain?

While doctors overwhelmingly explain how to use the opioids they prescribe, about 40% of of them poorly lay out, or fail to mention altogether, three things a patient should know:

  • non-opioid alternatives
  • risks of taking the medications
  • possible side effects.

Are opioid prescriptions being controlled via treatment plans?

Once doctors decide to prescribe opioids, about half establish a plan that includes a time limit on patient use of opioids. Slightly more doctors do this for longer-term prescriptions. Again, though, many non-opioid treatment plans seem not to be taken quite as seriously, nor, again, are doctors asking their patients at least one key question patients expect to be asked before proceeding. All of this depends on the type of pain that a patient needs addressed.

Pain and opioids

Prescriptions are doled out, naturally, according to the intensity of pain being experienced. Using a scale of 1 to 10, where 10 is the most extreme level of pain, women had to be at a pain level of 7.3 before getting a scrip. That's higher than the 7.0 that triggered meds for men—one would expect this to be more equal. Men and women have different expectations about when their pain merits treatment, too, with men wanting relief sooner—at a pain level of 6.6—and women wanting to hold out until it reaches 7.7.

In any event, the differences on the impact of opioids on women and men aren't clear, seesawing back and forth depending on the specific drug.

(DrugAbuse.com)

How appropriate are prescribed opioid levels?

By and large, respondents felt they were prescribed the right amount of pain relief, whether for acute or chronic pain. Opioids prescribed after childbirth and for oral pain felt for some as if a milder dose would have been enough, though roughly a third of those with nerve or muscle pain felt they could have used a stronger prescription.

After the pain

So what do you do with left-over opioids, after they're no longer needed? The proper approach is to take them to an authorized drug collection site, where they can be safely disposed of . Only about 12% actually do this. Mostly we hold on to them "just in case"—12% of us do repurpose them for other pain—or we just toss them in the trash. 1% sell the extras.

(DrugAbuse.com)

Hulu's original movie "Palm Springs" is the comedy we needed this summer

Andy Samberg and Cristin Milioti get stuck in an infinite wedding time loop.

Gear
  • Two wedding guests discover they're trapped in an infinite time loop, waking up in Palm Springs over and over and over.
  • As the reality of their situation sets in, Nyles and Sarah decide to enjoy the repetitive awakenings.
  • The film is perfectly timed for a world sheltering at home during a pandemic.
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Two MIT students just solved Richard Feynman’s famed physics puzzle

Richard Feynman once asked a silly question. Two MIT students just answered it.

Surprising Science

Here's a fun experiment to try. Go to your pantry and see if you have a box of spaghetti. If you do, take out a noodle. Grab both ends of it and bend it until it breaks in half. How many pieces did it break into? If you got two large pieces and at least one small piece you're not alone.

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Economists show how welfare programs can turn a "profit"

What happens if we consider welfare programs as investments?

A homeless man faces Wall Street

Spencer Platt/Getty Images
Politics & Current Affairs
  • A recently published study suggests that some welfare programs more than pay for themselves.
  • It is one of the first major reviews of welfare programs to measure so many by a single metric.
  • The findings will likely inform future welfare reform and encourage debate on how to grade success.
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Unhappy at work? How to find meaning and maintain your mental health

Finding a balance between job satisfaction, money, and lifestyle is not easy.

Unhappy at work? How to find meaning and maintain your mental health
Videos
  • When most of your life is spent doing one thing, it matters if that thing is unfulfilling or if it makes you unhappy. According to research, most people are not thrilled with their jobs. However, there are ways to find purpose in your work and to reduce the negative impact that the daily grind has on your mental health.
  • "The evidence is that about 70 percent of people are not engaged in what they do all day long, and about 18 percent of people are repulsed," London Business School professor Dan Cable says, calling the current state of work unhappiness an epidemic. In this video, he and other big thinkers consider what it means to find meaning in your work, discuss the parts of the brain that fuel creativity, and share strategies for reassessing your relationship to your job.
  • Author James Citrin offers a career triangle model that sees work as a balance of three forces: job satisfaction, money, and lifestyle. While it is possible to have all three, Citrin says that they are not always possible at the same time, especially not early on in your career.
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