Physicians offer alternatives to prescription opioid drugs based on each patient

HUNTSVILLE, Ala. - With overdoses on the rise, physicians are trying to find new solutions to ease people's pain before theyresort to taking pills.

"It is a huge problem," Dr. Yari Campbell, doctor of internal medicine, said. "There have been a number of doctor's that have lost their licenses."

Dr. Campbell, and physicians like him, do not want to add to the country's opioid crisis.

"You have to balance out patients that really need it with addiction," Dr. Campbell said.

Doctors know there are certain qualifications to prescribe opioids.

"When is it appropriate to be on opioids, and if their pain is treated properly, when to stop them," Dr. Campbell said of managing his patients' care. "Now, you're probably going to have some of those patients that are going to need to be on pain medication long term, I do have some of those patients."

Physicians try to give patients options before prescribing pills. Dr. Campbell used the example of someone with back pain could do physical therapy for a while. He also cited relaxation techniques, breathing exercises and yoga as exercises to do if someone is prescribed these medications to stop an addiction.

The Centers for Disease Control reports that opioids killed more than 33,000 people in 2015, nearly half of those deaths involved a prescription drug. The journal "Pediatrics" recently reported that most American teens who abuse opioid drugs received the pills from a doctor.