DEAR DOCTOR K: My doctor has prescribed prescription painkillers -- opioids -- for my severe back pain. They relieve my pain, but how can I reduce my risk of becoming hooked?
DEAR READER: Simply being aware of the risk of addiction is a good first step in ensuring that you do not become addicted to prescription painkillers. I'll explain a little bit about painkillers. Then I'll describe some steps you can take to prevent addiction.