Doc Talk: How long does it take to get addicted to pain medication?


It’s time for another virtual trip to the doctor’s office. Unless you’ve been under a rock for the past few years, you’ve probably heard about the HUGE spike in the number of accidental overdoses from prescription pain medications. (The number has tripled in the past 10 years.)

So how do you know how long you or a person in your family can safely take prescription pain medication before they run the risk of becoming addicted? It’s not an easy question to answer, but Dr. Chris Johnson of Mercy Clinic tackles this topic, explaining the difference between “acute” and “chronic” pain as well as options for treating it safely.

Also, be sure to listen for Dr. Johnson’s advice on who may be more at risk for developing an addiction to pain medications.

To schedule an appointment with Dr. Chris Johnson, call the Mercy Clinic at 479-338-5555 at the Physician’s Plaza on the Mercy campus in Rogers (just off Interstate 540).

Doc Talk is a bi-monthly feature made possible by the doctors and nurses of Mercy Health, who are generous with their time and provide video answers to questions submitted by local mothers. does not provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. This content is for informational purposes only and isn’t a substitute for professional medical advice. Always talk to your doctor if you have questions about a medical condition. Don’t delay getting professional medical advice because of something you read online. This website doesn’t necessarily recommend or endorse any specific tests, doctors, products, procedures or opinions discussed on the site.