Hot Topic: Arthritis and Opioids

Opioids: Drugs You Hate to Love

Opioids, narcotic medications derived from the opium poppy, are among the world’s oldest drugs.  Highly effective in relieving severe pain, and in particular the pain caused by the joint destruction of rheumatoid arthritis or the cartilage breakdown in osteoarthritis, opioids are also highly addictive.

This CJ Hot Topic looks at arthritis and opioids to treat pain. You’ll see doctor, patient and other expert perspectives in our under-a-minute CJ Wrap interviews, and delves deeper into issues related to opioid use and abuse in our downloadable CJ Takeaways.

We also provide essays and articles about opioids by some of our featured  CJ Bloggers as well as links to Recommended Reading on opioids.

Not a drug addict

The CJ Wrap

wraprap n: short for a “wraparound”. A “wrap” is a short news report where the reporter’s voice is heard before and after an interview clip. A CJ Wrap is a news report produced by CJ Senior Correspondent Stacey Cahn about subjects that matter to members of the CJ Community.

Press the CJ Wrap Button to hear what each expert has to say or simply read the accompanying script of the interview if you need to keep the sound down.

Dr. Jonathan Krant talks about opioid use and having your life revolve around your meds. And the difficulty in obtaining them.


Dr. Jonathan Krant, MD, FACP, FACR, is
CreakyJoints Chief Medical Director and Chief of Rheumatology for the Adirondack Health Systems.

Part I: Dr. Mark Young on how he believes opioids should play a last resort role in the management of pain.
Part II: Dr. Young talks about how women are not simply small men, and how they experience pain differently from men.


Dr. Mark Young, MD, MBA, FACP,
oversees the Oasis Center for Natural Pain Management in White Marsh, Md. Author of Women and Pain: Why It Hurts and What You Can Do, Dr. Young prefers a holistic approach to healing.

Part I: Bob Twillman addresses the possible decision by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to move Hydrocodone to a more restrictive classification
Part II: Bob Twillman responds to the FDA’s plan to change labeling requirements on prescriptions for extended-release and long-acting opioid medications.


Bob Twillman, Ph.D., FAPM, the Director of Policy and Advocacy for the American Academy of Pain Management. Founded in 1988, it is the largest pain-management organization in the nation.

Dr. Laurie Ferguson talks about the importance of taking your pain seriously and making doctors—even if they tend to shun people with pain—take it seriously, too.


Dr. Laurie Ferguson, Ph.D., a health psychologist, certified coach, ordained minister and Vice-President of Education for CreakyJoints, frequently writes about pain issues in her blog on CJ, Ethereal Cereal.

Part I: Lene Andersen talks about how she’s learned to get along with her chronic arthritic pain.
Part II: Lene Andersen on how people are so uncomfortable with the topic of pain that it is minimized and negated.


Lene Andersen, an award-winning author who writes about living well with pain in her blog Lene’s Seated View, also on CJ, has authored two books, Your Life with Rheumatoid Arthritis and 7 Facets: A Meditation on Pain.

Part I: Sandi Davis offers advice to people who are new to opioids and worried about the risk of addiction.
Part II: Sandi Davis on how opioids work differently on people using them to treat pain compared to people who abuse them.
Sandi Davis is an award-winning journalist who reported for a major daily newspaper until her health forced her to stop work. She now writes for publications such as USA Today and maintains a blog on CJ, Sandi’s Ow!

CJ Takeaway

take·a·way n: a key fact, point, or idea to be remembered, typically one emerging from a discussion or meeting. A CJ Takeaway is concise information on complicated topics presented in a convenient downloadable pdf format.

Press the CJ Takeaway button to view the pdf. Once you open, you can download or print for easy reference.

CJ Takeaway ~  Opioid Series
Issue 1
What are Opioids: the Basics?
In this CJ Takeaway:
CJ-Takeaway P 1
  • Pain Patients Who Use Opioids are Not Addicts
  • Modern Opioid History
  • How Opioids Work
  • Should Opioids Be a Part of Your Pain Management Care?


CJ Takeaway ~  Opioid Series
Issue 2
Opioids for Arthritis Pain?
In this CJ Takeaway:
 CJ-Takeaway P 2
  • Where do opioids fit in the arthritis pain picture?
  • What about side effects?
  • Is opioid therapy always for the long term?
  • Do patients who go on the new biologics still need opioids?
  • What if your doctor prescribes opioids?


CJ Takeaway ~ Opioid Series
Issue 3
The Crackdown on Opioid Abuse

In this CJ Takeaway:

  • War on Drugs = War on Pain Patients?
  • FDA Tries New Opioid Labels
  • Tamper-resistant Opioid Drugs
  • Unintended Consequences: Pain Patients Can’t Get Meds
CJ-Takeaway Issue 3 Top Half Cover

CJ Bloggers

Blog-ger n: a person who writes about their own experiences, observations and opinions in an online blog. CJ Bloggers are the best bloggers in the world on anything and everything to do with arthritis.

CJ Blogger Daniel Malito of Dan’s du Journal on Opioids

War on prescription drugs. War on us

War on prescription drugs. War on us

Dan on speaking up before pain meds are outlawed completely

Sorry, no pain pills here

Sorry, no pain pills here

Dan is blindsided at pharmacy by new NYS law when he tries to fill his script.

CJ Blogger Lene Andersen of Lene’s Seated View on Opioids

7 Facets A Meditation on Pain

CJ Blogger Sandi Davis of Sandi’s Ow! on Opioids

Sandi rants about drug abuse, knowing there's no real answer

hurtblogger_0 CJ Blogger Britt Johnson of Hurt Blogger on Opioids


CJ Recommended Reading

For a CJ listing of recommended websites and articles on opioids, click here.

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