Francisco Hidalgo prepares to receive a trigger point injection from Dr. Alexis LaPietra (right) at St. Joseph’s University Medical Center in Paterson, N.J., while Dr. Tyler Manis observes. An alternative to opioids, the trigger point injection involves dry needling to stop pain from a muscle spasm and a shot of local anesthetic for the soreness from the needle. Hansi Lo Wang/NPR
NPR’s “Take A Number” series is exploring problems around the world — and solutions — through the lens of a single number.
One of the places many people are first prescribed opioids is a hospital emergency room. But in one of the busiest ERs in the U.S., doctors are relying less than they used to on oxycodone, Percocet, Vicodin and other opioids to ease patients’ pain.