SCOTTSDALE (3TV/CBS 5) -- Some Arizona doctors have changed the way they prescribe painkillers to help try and curb the opioid epidemic plaguing Arizona and the entire country.
Dr. Matthew Crooks of Pinnacle Pain and Spine is one of them.
He believes fentanyl, a drug that is 100 times stronger than morphine, should not be prescribed for patients undergoing relatively minor procedures.
"It’s too strong, too dangerous and again, just like any opioid as strong as it is, if you have a normal life expectancy, you will become tolerant to that medication, the fentanyl even and you’ll require even higher doses of that for the same pain relief," he explained.
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He believes doctors are partially responsible for the prevalence of opioids in our communities.
“There is some responsibility on the physician’s part. Some of it is misplaced, wanting to help the patient and wanting to treat the pain and not maybe doing their due diligence or their full education in terms of the risks of that medication, but I do think physicians do have a role in opening that Pandora’s box and allowing that out in the community.”
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Crooks’ procedures involve cortisone shots to not only ease the pain but fix the underlying cause of that pain. He says most of his patients can resume their normal activities within a day or so.
Bill Rahr recently saw Crooks after re-injuring his back.
“What Dr. Crooks does is the real answer, I think, and that maybe people aren’t really aware of,” he said.
Crooks says the only people who need fentanyl outside of a hospital are terminal cancer patients who are in extreme pain at the end of their lives.
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