Opioid addiction is one of the most serious health crises in Georgia and across the United States. These powerful painkillers relieve chronic pain, but they are also highly habit-forming. Many times, desperate addicts end up committing crimes to get new prescriptions, buy opioids on the street, or turn to heroin and other controlled substances.

Unless they get help for their addiction, a dependence on opioids like fentanyl or oxycodone can lead to tragedy. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates that 128 Americans die of opioid abuse every day. Meanwhile, those living with opioid addiction risk getting arrested and charged with a serious drug crime.

As the nation struggles with this epidemic, one possible solution would be to find new medications that are reliable alternatives to opioids. Drugs that can treat pain without putting patients at risk of becoming addicted. Some doctors think they have found a possible solution.

A less addictive painkiller drug

A new class of painkillers called neuromodulators have shown some promise in treating pain. They work differently than opioids by changing how the patient’s nervous system perceives pain, rather than directly targeting the pain the way opioids do. This might reduce the risk of physical dependence.

A new strategy for treating serious pain

Researchers caution that neuromodulators alone will probably not relieve 100 percent of pain for all patients. Instead, they hope to include these drugs in combinations of treatment tailored to each patient. As one doctor said, the hope is that neuromodulators will someday be effective for about 50 to 60 percent of patients.

How many people end up charged with a drug crime

Addiction can make people do things they would never normally do. Many people arrested for drug trafficking are addicts trying to support their habit. If you have been arrested on drug charges, make sure your defense attorney knows about your struggle with addiction. It may be a significant part of their defense strategy for you.