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Kennedy Krieger Offers Narcotic-Free Chronic Pain Management For Children

BALTIMORE (WJZ)-- Everyday, 115 people die from opioid overdoses. While the drug is excellent at removing pain from legitimate patient with medical conditions, there is a reluctance to prescribe it to children.

Kennedy Krieger is now offering a way for children to manage chronic pain without narcotics.

Patient Kaitlyn Adams has sickle-cell anemia, which means incredible pain, hospitalizations and depression.

"I developed chronic pain in my lower back, my hips and my legs," Adams said. "I was mostly in bed all day. I was on tons of opioids. I didn't do a lot of activities, I didn't go out, school was hard to get through."

Her doctor heard of a pain management program at Kennedy Krieger in Baltimore. They got her moving and weaned her off narcotics.

The use about two dozen therapies, from exercise to biofeedback, to manage the pain.

"So we build them up and teach them so their able to deal with the changes their feeling in their body in a positive way and then we gradually lower the doses of their opioids," said Dr. Suzanne Rybcynski of Kennedy Krieger.

For Kaitlyn, it's been life changing, just ask mom.

"When we left Kennedy Krieger, Kaitlyn was a totally different person," said Kaitlyn's mother, Tijuana Adams. "I'm just so happy to see this side of Kaitlyn, because this is the good side of Kaitlyn."

Her therapy continues, not every day is a good day, but there are enough good days that she's doing well at Morgan State.

"It's been a huge progress, huge progress. I've made so much progress," Kaitlyn added.

The program is one of the few in the country and is offered to children ages 6 to 18 years old.

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