It's after the operation that people are first exposed to opioids.
In order to deal with intense pain from surgery opioids are prescribed, initiating the beginning stages for possible addiction.
"Apparently, there is an overuse of it and that's what gets people hooked,” said Peter Lively, a patient. “And when they're hooked, they're hooked. "
Peter Lively is a patient who had a knee replacement surgery. His surgeon, Dr. Bruce Baird, has recognized that opioids are being over-prescribed to manage pain post-surgery. Now he's using a non-opioid medication on his patients called Exparel.
"We're trying to do our part to decrease the amount of opioids that are in the com unity,” said Baird. “One of things we can do is to help control post operatively."
Baird says the medication allows patients to recover faster, endure less pain, go home earlier and in cases like Peter Lively's, have a completely opioid-free recovery.
"Dr. Baird had told me I would be in the hospital for three days and he let me out the day afterwards," said Lively.
"A new medicine that helped almost revolutionizes our ability to care for our total knee replacement patients especially,” said orthopedic surgeon Peter Van-Eeenenaam. “Since we started using it, it has made the experience of having a knee replacement so much different than it has been in the past."
While patients in the North Country have been using Exparel, Dr. Baird is hoping other physicians across the country will hop on board.
"It's absolutely going to be the way of the future as we are trying to get people mobilized quicker and use less narcotics," said Baird.
The medication is fairly new but surgeons have faith it will expand all over the world, taking down the opioid epidemic one patient at a time.