In 2001, Mariah O’Brien was severely injured when the car she was riding in was hit by a vehicle traveling 70 mph on a Chicago expressway.

“I broke my neck in two places and my pelvis and my right leg,” she said. “I was flat on my back for three months and was on a lot of Vicodin at that point.”

O’Brien, 39, was prescribed the powerful pain reliever a second time last September after undergoing two surgeries to repair a torn anterior cruciate ligament. Both times, O’Brien quickly sought physical therapy to avoid opioid painkillers.

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