By Jim Melwert

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — With overdose now the leading cause of death for people under 50 in the United States, there’s an on-going push for changes in how narcotic pain killers are prescribed.

Montgomery County commissioner Dr. Val Arkoosh, an anesthesiologist before she got into politics, says there’s been significant progress in educating physicians but, she says, there is still work to be done.

Arkoosh says patients, or parents of patients, need to know they can tell their care-giver they don’t want opioids, and she says there are options, such as acetaminophen or ibuprofen.

“There is another medication called Ketorolac, which is similar to ibuprofen, that is almost as effective as morphine as a pain reliever but is not a narcotic, has no addictive properties to it,” she explained.

Arkoosh says if the physician feels strongly that the patient will need an opioid, they should ask for a prescription for just a couple of days.

She also says there is a push to get insurance companies to cover alternative treatments such as acupuncture, massage, or physical therapy so pain meds aren’t needed.