Dr. Pani

Pani Shoja, MD

Opioids are powerful drugs that affect the brain and slow down actions of the body including the heartbeat and breathing. Doctors provide opioid medication to treat pain and other health problems such as severe coughing. With long term use, the body becomes dependent on these medications which include commonly used medications such as Codeine, Norco, and Percocet.  As people become tolerant to opioids, more of the drug is needed to obtain its effects. This dependency may lead to addiction, and even death. In fact, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Protection, drug overdose deaths in Hawaii increased by 83 percent from 2006 to 2014 (more than double the national average rate of 37 percent).

There is help.

On December 13, 2016, President Obama signed the 21st Century Cures Act which implements his budget proposal to provide $1 billion in new funding to combat the opioid crisis. In Hawaii, lawmakers passed a bill that went into effect July 2016 which in most cases, prevents health care providers from prescribing more than a 30-day supply of opioids and enables more health care providers to use a Prescription Drug Monitoring Program that tracks the prescribing and dispensing of controlled prescription drugs to patients.

Though opioid addiction is considered a chronic disease, a person with addiction can regain a healthy and productive life, with help. Treatment, which may include medication and counseling with the care of doctors and substance abuse treatment providers, can help people get through withdrawal and cope with cravings.

If you or someone you know has a problem, there are several treatment centers in Hawaii to consider.

Pani Shoja, MD
Urgent Care Hawaii
Medical Director

About Urgent Care Hawaii: Urgent Care Hawaii medical clinics provide immediate and urgent medical care on Oahu for Pearl City, Honolulu, Waikiki, Waipahu, Aiea, Kapolei, Kunia, Waipio, Makakilo, Halawa, Mililani, Kailua and Ewa Beach. The clinics provide quick and affordable options for people needing immediate medical care and treatment for common or everyday health problems seven days a week – no appointments are necessary. The Pearl City location is certified by The Urgent Care Association of America and is a member of the Chamber of Commerce Hawaii.

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