Real Stories

"I found options to heal safer and faster."

People in Oregon share their stories of healing and recovery.

Woman outdoors smiling at camera

How we healed

As more people learn about the risks of opioid painkillers and discover options for healing safely, they're finding ways to recover from injury or surgery without dangerous medicines.

Read and listen to their stories and the stories of doctors, nurses and others leading the way toward safer healing.

“For short-term, severe pain, they would prescribe Oxycontin. I always resisted taking that because I didn't like how it made me feel.”

Richard relies on rest and ice for any athletic or work-related injuries.

"I think it's important to have a choice. Prescription drugs should never be your only choice."

Alyssa wants to see more choices from providers for pain management.

“Having this experience has changed my ideas on managing pain and working with doctors. I realized I need to speak up more and that I can speak up on my son's behalf.”

Maria, with her son Andrew, Portland

After Andrew suffered a mouth injury during his high school soccer game, an oral surgeon prescribed an opioid painkiller. Both Andrew and his mother Maria worried about the risk of addiction and his performance in school.

To avoid taking opioids, they made a pain management plan with their surgeon that included ice and over-the-counter medication.

Photo of Maria and Andrew

“I’m a single parent, so I needed to be able to drive my kids to school and take care of them after my surgery. I didn’t want painkillers to get in the way.”

Kathy worked with her doctor to use as little prescription pain medicine as possible.

“When my patients come to me in pain, I’m glad when they ask questions because there are a lot of different ways to treat pain, not just with pills.”

Dr. Madrigal listens to his patients and helps them make informed decisions that are right for them.

“A big part of our plan was to keep me moving. If I had taken their prescription medication, I doubt whether I would have been able to get up off the couch.”

Ron, with wife Rebecca, Salem

Ron and Rebecca were worried about the risk of becoming dependent on opioids when they discovered that Ron needed open heart surgery. They researched and worked with their doctor to find another way to manage his pain. 

They found that taking over-the-counter pain medicine worked for him, which allowed Ron to walk around as he healed.

Couple facing and smiling toward camera

"People sometimes forget that food is one of our first medicines."

Asa and Linda share a preference for natural remedies to avoid using opioids.

"When we hold trauma in the body, it creates illness and it creates pain—mentally, physically and spiritually."

Acosia believes that we can heal from injuries better with movement and flexibility.

“As a nurse, I want patients to ask questions. My job is to be there for my patient.”

Maureen, Registered Nurse

As a nurse, Maureen often answers patients' questions on pain management. She sees that opioids can hinder a patient’s recovery—especially because movement is an important part of healing. 

Maureen urges patients to talk to their provider about the side effects and risks of opioids and ask how to make over-the-counter medication most effective.