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Pharmacist weighs in on opioid epidemic

"It's very difficult to see people in pain. It's very difficult to sometimes not be able to completely relieve pain," Dr. John Doric says.

GOLDEN VALLEY, Minn. - John Doric is a pharmacist at HealthPartners and sees a lot of people living in pain.

“It's very difficult to see people in pain. It's very difficult to sometimes not be able to completely relieve pain,” Doric says.

Doric is well aware of the growing debate out there surrounding opioids like OxyContin, that are often prescribed, especially for those dealing with chronic pain.

“I believe opioids should not be used as the first option for pain and they really shouldn't be used alone for pain,” Doric says.

He says opioids tend to be most effective when they're paired with other medications and when things like exercise are mixed into the treatment plan.

The opioid epidemic is so problematic that HealthPartners has recently started dispensing the medication Naloxone, which reverses the effects of an opioid overdose, to people taking high doses of it.

It’s a piece of treatment in a delicate process of helping people living with immense amounts of discomfort.

“The goal is not to get rid of pain. It's to help you live with your pain and opioids are just a tool in a toolbox of options,” Doric says.

There’s an option to help keep opioids from getting in the wrong hands. HealthPartners has disposal bins in several of their pharmacy locations where you can drop off leftover prescription medications, opioids and controlled substances.