America's addiction to painkillers has become an epidemic.
Since 1999, deaths from opioids — drugs like oxycodone, hydrocodone and methadone — have quadrupled, killing 78 Americans every day, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Many of these addictions and overdoses started with a doctor's prescription. The amount of prescription opioids sold in the U.S. has also quadrupled in the same time frame.
Chronic pain affects more than 100 million Americans, more than the total affected by heart disease, cancer and diabetes combined, according to the Institute of Medicine, so it is no wonder that doctors are prescribing more opioids than ever before. But diagnosing pain can be a daunting task for doctors.
"It is challenging to determine the true level of the patient's pain because somebody may say their pain is 8 out of 10 ... but somebody else could have the exact same level of pain that has a different chemical makeup and they might say that their pain is only a 5 out of 10." said Dr. Karim Abdollahi, an orthopedic surgeon in Laguna Beach, California. "It's very subjective."