Beware of the drugs: the dangers of pain killers

This headline popped up today and caught my attention because Oxycodone was the drug they gave me both before and after my knee replacement.

If you have been prescribed Oxycodone or are currently on the drug, please read this article.

Prior to my knee replacement, it is fair to say that my pain was nowhere near under control. I had tried everything.

Background to pain meds: my story

Clebrex was working for a long time, before the pain got too great. Then I was on a wide concoction of drugs, all of which I was allergic to. There are so many I cannot remember them all, but it included high strength Brufen, morphine, tramadol and fentanyl, amongst many others. They all made me very sick.

Things came to a head when the pain started to affect my work and I had to stop doing some of my work and adapt my role to fit around the pain. I went back to the doctor and h was running our of options. So he suggested Oxycodone (brand name Oxynorm in New Zealand).

One of my clients is a midwife. When she heard the latest drug they had put me on, she looked physically shocked and concerned. So I knew something was not quite right.

I was given it because I’m intolerant to morphine, but nevertheless the experience I had was totally horrific and I actually elected to stop taking it against my doctors advice. I decided the pain was better than the horrific trips and side effects the drug was giving me. I then just used Turmeric high strength capsules until my op and nothing else. Staying active did also help manage the pain.

Post op, they tried all sorts of things (Fentanyl first – ACK) and I ended up on Oxycodone again. I was so so sick from it that I completely refused to take any more on day 3 Post op and had a heap of arguments with medical staff over it.

I then went through the same horrific 7 day withdrawal that i can only liken to a drug addict withdrawal. Iwas horrified that this was happening after only taking it for three days. I have done this whole knee replacement rehab journey with ZERO pain meds, and it so definitely IS possible.

Pain meds frighten me. I always considered pain to serve a purpose. Even so, I know that the knee related pain a replacement joint patient faces is extreme. Mine regularly would sit at an 8-9 out of 10 on a daily basis. But, what the drugs they give you for this do to you physically and mentally is even more concerning in my opinion and should be taken very seriously indeed.

Ray was given oxycodone after back surgery. That was just the start of his nightmare. Read Ray’s story here.

The Truth about Hillbilly Heroin

If you google search Hillbilly Heroin (a term I had not heard of till I read this article) you get statements like the following:

..nationally recognized popularity of recreational oxycodone abuse is apparent to west Virginian healthcare providers…

US National library of Medicine, 2010

Because it reacts on the nervous system like heroin or opium, some abusers are using one brand of oxycodone painkiller, OxyContin, as a substitute for, or supplement to, street opiates like heroin.

The foundation for a drug free world

This, however, is the most worrying quote that I found.

I didn’t think I had a ‘drug’ problem—I was buying the tablets at the chemist [drugstore]. It didn’t affect my work. I would feel a bit tired in the mornings, but nothing more. The fact that I had a problem came to a head when I took an overdose of about forty tablets and found myself in the hospital. I spent twelve weeks in the clinic conquering my addiction.


I wonder how many people are like Alex and accidentally end up with an horrific addiction they did not know about?

According to the Guardian, 72,000 people died of opiate related drugs overdoses in the USA in 2017. Fentanyle used to be the leading drug that resulted in abuse related deaths, but Oxycodone is fast catching up, due to the high rate at which doctors readily prescribe it.

It was originally manufactured as a slower release version of the opiate, the idea being if it lasted longer, people would not abuse it. The drug I was given was a fast release (I refused to take the slow release). At least when it gave me horrific side effects I only had to ride it out for 4 hours and it would quickly wear off. I am guessing that wasn’t the one that they gave me post op, who knows for sure.

Here is the history of Oxy, if you are interested, however it seems lack of control on the drug’s prescription was to blame in the first instance. I cannot speak for other countries but here in NZ it is highly controlled. The doctor has to hand write the script which is triplicated on carbon paper and then the pharmacy takes them out of a locked safe – only giving you 10 tablets at a time.

My medical record now clearly states that I am highly allergic to all opiates. Sometimes I wish this was not the case, but on the other hand, maybe this was my body’s way of protecting me from something much more sinister.


Published by Melanie Magowan

I am a personal trainer, massage therapist and small business owner.

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