Published on December 6, 2012 at 1:52 AM
"Prescribing opioids as a matter of course for treatment impedes the opportunity to explore and implement other methods of therapy that could offer relief for millions of Americans who suffer from acute or chronic pain," said Webster, professor of Health Policy and Management at the Bloomberg School. "It also increases the odds these drugs will be misused or diverted from the legal to the illegal market, leading to more addiction and death."
The article reveals there are clear correlations between national trends for prescription opioid sales, admissions for substance abuse treatment, and deaths. It also recommends that existing regulatory and enforcement measures to prevent nonmedical use and diversion should be complimented by changes to clinical guidelines to treat chronic pain that are less reliant on opioids.
"It's evident more research needs to be done to identify alternative approaches to pain management and treatment, but prescribing practices must change to reverse what has become a pervasive epidemic leading to widespread morbidity, mortality, and community strife," Alexander added.
Source: Johns Hopkins University Bloomberg School of Public Health