Chronic pain forum

Medford, Ore., — Opioid abuse can lead to overdoses, drug abuse, and death. But as resources improve, more and more ways to manage chronic pain are becoming available.

Chronic pain can be debilitating, but the risk of dependency on painkillers is troubling.

Right now, Oregon ranks 4th in the nation for opioid abuse,  a free forum held on Thursday evening brought alternative resources together for residents who are suffering.

Several speakers and medical services converged at the Ramada Inn convention center in Medford, sharing ways to treat chronic pain without using prescription painkillers.

Medical professionals at the event say that’s key, because 35% of people on opiates will become addicted to the drugs.

NBC5 News spoke with a woman who became dependent on painkillers, Michelle Marikos was pushed from a second story porch and badly injured her neck.

Doctors put her on a cocktail of prescription painkillers and she became dependent.

It took about a decade for her to find a way to manage her pain without drugs.

“Coming through this process has been amazing, it’s been amazing to be actually in a different place with my pain and that it doesn’t control me, I control my pain,” said Marikos.

The experience affected Michelle so much so that she took it upon herself to help organize this event.

The conference continues tomorrow for medical professionals who are meeting at the Smullin Center to discuss treatment options.

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