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Ashley Copeland (right) talks to her mom Sue Iverson in the Swedish Medical Center emergency department, near Denver. Copeland got a nerve-blocking anesthetic instead of opioids to ease her severe headache. At discharge she was advised to use over-the-counter painkillers, if necessary. John Daley / CPR News hide caption

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John Daley / CPR News

These 10 ERs Sharply Reduced Opioid Use And Still Eased Pain

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Francisco Hidalgo prepares to receive a trigger point injection from Dr. Alexis LaPietra (right) at St. Joseph's University Medical Center in Paterson, N.J., while Dr. Tyler Manis observes. An alternative to opioids, the trigger point injection involves dry needling to stop pain from a muscle spasm and a shot of local anesthetic for the soreness from the needle. Hansi Lo Wang/NPR hide caption

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Hansi Lo Wang/NPR

ER Reduces Opioid Use By More Than Half With Dry Needles, Laughing Gas

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MaryJane Sarvis, an artist in Shaftsbury, Vt., weaned herself from the opioid painkillers she was prescribed for chronic nerve pain. "I felt tired all the time and I was still in pain," she says. Marijuana works better for her, but costs $200 per month out-of-pocket. Emily Corwin/VPR hide caption

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Emily Corwin/VPR

The High Cost Of Medical Marijuana Causes Pain In Vermont

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Will Gersch teaches a class as part of a Colorado Kaiser Permanente pain management clinic. John Daley / Colorado Public Radio hide caption

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John Daley / Colorado Public Radio

Pain Management Program Offers An Alternative To Opioids

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Lauren Kafka rented a machine that delivered cold water and compression to manage pain after rotator cuff surgery. Her insurance company said it wasn't medically necessary and refused to pay for it. Courtesy of Alexander C. Kafka hide caption

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Courtesy of Alexander C. Kafka

Doctors think the chronic pain of "shoulder impingement" may arise from age-related tendon and muscle degeneration, or from a bone spur that can rub against a tendon. Michele Constantini/PhotoAlto/Getty Images hide caption

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Michele Constantini/PhotoAlto/Getty Images

Popular Surgery To Ease Chronic Shoulder Pain Called Into Question

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Maria Fabrizio for NPR

Is There A Way To Keep Using Opioid Painkillers And Reduce Risk?

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Hiroshi Watanabe/Getty Images

Brain Scientists Look Beyond Opioids To Conquer Pain

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A 1980 letter published in the New England Journal of Medicine was later widely cited as evidence that long-term use of opioid painkillers such as oxycodone was safe, even though the letter did not back up that claim. Education Images/UIG via Getty Images hide caption

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Education Images/UIG via Getty Images

Doctor Who Wrote 1980 Letter On Painkillers Regrets That It Fed The Opioid Crisis

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The FDA expanded its warnings about prescription cough and pain medications that contain the narcotics codeine or tramadol. Sujata Jana / EyeEm/Getty Images hide caption

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Sujata Jana / EyeEm/Getty Images

Don't Give Kids Cough Syrup Or Pain Meds That Contain Codeine, FDA Says

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Dr. James Baker holds a photo of his son, Max, who had been sober for more than a year and was in college when he relapsed after surgery and died of a heroin overdose. Craig LeMoult/WGBH hide caption

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Craig LeMoult/WGBH

How Do Former Opioid Addicts Safely Get Pain Relief After Surgery?

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John Evard, 70, at the Las Vegas Recovery Center last July. Evard, a retired tax attorney, checked into a rehabilitation program to help him quit the prescribed opioids that had left him depressed, groggy and dependent on the drugs. Heidi de Marco/Kaiser Health News hide caption

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Heidi de Marco/Kaiser Health News

Opioids Can Derail The Lives Of Older People, Too

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Pfizer's Celebrex fared well in a safety study that compared the pain reliever with ibuprofen and naproxen. Daniel Acker/Bloomberg via Getty Images hide caption

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Daniel Acker/Bloomberg via Getty Images

Safety Of Painkiller Celebrex Affirmed In New Study

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Placebos are commonly thought of as fake treatments that people think are real. But they may be helpful even if you know they're fake. Tim Robberts/Getty Images hide caption

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Tim Robberts/Getty Images

These pills were made to look like Oxycodone, but they're actually an illicit form of the potent painkiller fentanyl. A surge in police seizures of illicit fentanyl parallels a rise in overdose deaths. Tommy Farmer/Tennessee Bureau of Investigation/AP hide caption

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Tommy Farmer/Tennessee Bureau of Investigation/AP
Maria Fabrizio for NPR

To Ease Pain, Reach For Your Playlist

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