For Immediate Release

Advancements in Managing Pain Contribute to Reducing Opiate/Fentanyl Crisis

Albany, Ny. February 18, 2023

Opioid Deaths are on the Rise

According to the office of the State comptroller, the share of overdose deaths in New York State has increased by 85% in 2020 and 2021. And in 2022, drug overdose deaths in the State have increased by 38% over the previous year (1).

“Unfortunately, one of the major reasons for drug addiction is prescription of addictive medicines. There are alternatives that must be considered if we want to make an impact on this problem”, says Jason Pickett, Chief Operating Officer of Albany Saratoga Centers for Pain Management, ASCPM. He continues, “At our practice, we are cognizant of the dangers of opiates, so our clinicians are diligent about treating the source of the pain rather than masking the symptoms”.

The Source of the Problem

A study of adults reporting misuse of heroin or prescription opioids found three main motives for initiating opioid misuse. “One of them coping with mental health problems and stressors, commonly adverse childhood experiences and relationship problems; pain relief for a legitimate medical issue that resulted in “unexpected intoxication; viewed as a pleasant surprise;” and experimentation or the desire for a novel psychoactive experience among individuals typically reporting a substantial history of other illicit drug use” (2).

What can Clinicians do to Limit Access to Medications that Lead to Drug Abuse?

“Our practice has a no opiate policy. Our physicians are trained to look for dependency and other medications that effectively treat chronic pain conditions”, says Dr. Martin Ferrillo. He continues,

“Look for alternatives other than surgery that can lead to pain problems and often stronger medications to resolve pain.

Avoid using opiates whenever possible.

Refer to Interventional Medicine which targets the cause of pain rather than just masking the symptoms.

Use other non-addictive medicines that are effective in alleviating pain such as naltrexone, which is used to reverse overdoses.

Consider Regenerative Therapies that uses your body’s ability to heal itself.”

What is Albany Saratoga Centers for Pain Management doing?

At ASCPM, physicians receive regular training in advancements for treating the source of pain with minimally invasive procedures. They use targeted procedures to treat certain causes of inflammation. Radio Frequency Ablation targets nerves and can relieve pain for 6-10 months or longer; results vary from patient to patient.

Additionally, Nerve blocks prevent and help manage pain. Epidurals can be a better option than pain relievers and offer less sedation. Lumbar Decompression is a minimally invasive procedure in the spine that relieves pain in people who have Spinal Stenosis. And a technique called Dorsal Column Stimulators uses electrodes for certain chronic pain syndromes.

Other alternative procedures to surgery and prescribing opiates are:

Viscosupplementation, a gel-like fluid acts as a lubricant for joints.

The use of Neurotoxins disrupts the pain signals in nerves.

Platelet Rich Plasma therapy uses your own body’s natural ability to heal itself.

These minimally invasive procedures can avoid surgery that can require strong, addictive pain medications for recovery. Minimizing prescription and access to these drugs using alternative treatments can decrease the “unexpected intoxication” that leads to deaths due to drug overdose.

(1) Tom Denapoli “New York Overdose Deaths Surge During Pandemic,” November 1, 2022, Office of the New York State Comptroller, available at

(2)Khary K. Rigg, Katherine McLean, Shannon M. Monnat, Glenn E. Sterner, III, and Ashton Verdery, “Opioid misuse onset: Implications for intervention,” May 14, 2019, Journal of Addictive Diseases, available at

Dr. Ferrillo is double Board Certified and licensed to practice medicine in NY York State. We would like to set up interviews to share more information about these alternative procedures that can limit the use of opiates and contribute to the increase in deaths due to drug overdose affecting our community.