Habit Powerful

Patients Prescribed Narcotic Painkillers Use More of Them for Longer, Study Finds

— New York Times headline, December 9, 2014


“Hey, I wanted to talk to you about Dad.”

“Sure, what’s up?”

“Remember after his hip surgery he got that big bottle of narcotic painkillers?”


“Well, he went through it pretty fast. And then he got another big bottle of narcotic painkillers. And he went through that one even faster.”


“And then he got another bottle…”

“Yes, I’m listening.”

“Anyway. He’s taking like five or six of them a day. And, well…”

“Jennifer, if you’ve got something to say, just come out with it.”

“The truth is I just don’t know what to say. I mean, if I could only find words, or a word, to describe what it is, you know, when you’re prescribed narcotic painkillers and then use more of them, for longer.”

“Right. It is a strange thing.”

“His surgery was over four years ago.”

“Was it really? Well, that is very odd that he is…how did you put it again?”

“I think I said something like — I don’t know, he was prescribed narcotic painkillers and then used…”

“Right, right, then used more of them, for longer. Right. Well. Best perhaps to just keep an eye on things.”

“I suppose. No point in freaking out when we have no idea what we’re dealing with.”