Ah, s**t! Something twisted, then popped, and now within seconds of feeling the “twang” and resulting tightness, your right knee is swollen.

So much for your morning run! So much for trying to regain your health and stay in shape! The injury is bad. You can barely walk, which is what you tell the doctor as you are examined.

“No problem,” the doctor says, and with that, he prescribes you OxyContin.

But, wait! There is a problem. Not only have you hurt your knee—and possibly even severely at that–but you’re also in recovery from addictive substances. This could be a problem even if you aren’t recovering from opioids.

Regardless, you’re afraid if you get on painkillers, you might have a relapse. It’s a legitimate fear, but sometimes with a severe injury or surgery, opioid painkillers cannot be helped…or avoided.

Begrudgingly you take the doctor’s prescription. Yet, as you leave his office, you nonetheless wonder if you might relapse because of the painkillers, and with that, what your next step will be.

In short, you wonder if the prescribed treatment for your injury is worth the cost of your sobriety?


Sobriety experts maintain that any type of opioid use, for any type of reason, including injury, constitutes a relapse. Can Painkillers Be Taken by Someone in Recovery?

On the opposite side of the spectrum – and we mean extreme opposite – are medical practitioners who insist upon the use of opioid painkillers to combat pain, whether the pain is from a mild injury or an acute discomfort due to a surgical event.

Those in favor of sobriety maintain that many doctors who are in the position to write prescriptions do not understand the other side of the coin when it comes to painkillers. That quite easily and rapidly, a person suffering from pain can become addicted to the pain’s remedy.

Simply put, these doctors are not trained in the field of addiction, nor have they knowledge to understand that what they do prescribe is addictively dangerous.

Doctors, however, maintain that if the pills, or more so the prescription is accurately adhered to through its duration, there is very little chance a person can become hooked on any type of prescription painkillers. People, in short, have to take responsibility for themselves, particularly if proper healing is to occur for an injury.

But one taking responsibility for themselves isn’t as simple as it seems, particularly if a person in recovery had been responsible and successful before their accident.

What is evident to the individuals who support unwavering sobriety is today’s medical practitioners might not be aware of how an addict’s brain works in comparison to someone who isn’t an addict. That, in fact, the addict is physically fragile at best once they’ve gone beyond detox and are now in recovery.

Taking a painkiller, even if it is for an extreme injury, poses a dangerous gamble in which the brain understands something chemically pleasing is coming its way, and there’s a strong chance more of the same will be desired.


While the medical industry and sobriety advocates seem as far apart on this issue as sand and water, compromises have been put into play in which, yes, a person in recovery is prescribed opioid painkillers for an injury, but also monitored very closely.

For instance, doctors these days, particularly as they realize the link between prescription painkillers and opioid abuse, ask patients for a substance abuse history.

In other words, doctors want to know what you are or once have been addicted to. This way they will have a clearer idea of who you are, and what level of tolerance you have toward prescribed medicines.

Another compromise doctors employ is to prescribe the exact amount of pills you will need for your injury. After that, the doctor will have a plan to quickly wean you away from the more powerful opioids onto something less addictive, if addictive at all. Because of the risks, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) have introduced guidelines for prescribing opioids. According to these guidelines, doctors should use the lowest possible effective dose for just three days in most cases.

Depending upon your injury’s severity, doctors may forgo the entire opioid route for something over the counter and as simple as aspirin. Doctors may even incorporate all-natural techniques to alleviate your pain, such as exercise, yoga, or massage therapy.


In all, it’s not as if every doctor is to be feared, or blamed, for addicting, or relapsing someone in recovery with painkillers. They too would like to see you back on your feet again, running.

If you do injure yourself, though, and prescription painkillers look as if they may be on your injury’s horizon, work closely with the doctor. Disclose all you can about your medical history as well as your prior drug use and current recovery.

Seek out your doctor’s assistance with the actual prescription; make certain it’s clear to you how much and how often you should take the prescribed painkillers. And once your prescription is finished, get off the pain pills and immediately onto another type of therapy to help prevent any chance of relapsing.

Keep your head about yourself, and follow your doctor’s advice and directions. Don’t let a simple injury unrelated to your recovery threaten your recovery.

If you or a loved one feels a need to overcome an addiction, contact BLVD Treatment Centers. At BLVD Treatment Centers we custom tailor our recovery programs within the safe and nurturing confines of our rehab treatment centers. Located throughout Southern California, in Los Angeles, Orange County, San Diego and in Portland, OR, our mission is to assess the severity of your addiction to help you achieve true recovery. Call us now at 1-866.582.9844.



Can Painkillers Be Taken by Someone in Recovery?