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Twenty-two thousand people die every year from opioid pain medications. That's 60 deaths every day.
The opioid epidemic has been described as the deadliest drug crisis in American history. Experts at the National Safety Council believe physicians can be leaders in attacking this epidemic by embracing new research on opioids and modifying old prescribing habits.
There is no evidence that long-term opioid use is effective at reducing chronic pain. In fact, there is new evidence from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention that using an opioid for more than seven days
doubles the chance of use one year later.
Studies show opioids are less effective than over-the-counter drugs such as ibuprofen, naproxen and acetaminophen. One of the most effective pain relief options is one Extra-Strength Tylenol taken with one Advil.
Evidence for the Efficacy of Pain Medications
Too often, medical providers do not fully consider side effects when prescribing opioids. Providers may be familiar with constipation, nausea and vomiting that result from use of opioids, but there are many more potential areas of concern.
Many prescribers are not aware that issuing even one opioid prescription can delay recovery, increase medical costs and increase the risks of future disability and addiction. Opioids should be used only when indicated and in small doses for the least amount of time possible.
The Psychological and Physical Side Effects of Pain Medications
Through a speaker's bureau program established by NSC, doctors are available to share best practices for pain management with other medical professionals at no cost. Three presentations are currently available:
For more information on how to book a presentation, email
Healthcare providers and patients often find chronic pain to be challenging. The CDC highlights three main focus areas in its
safe prescribing guideline:
Check out additional resources and tools on CDC's
new mobile app.
Watch: The CDC partnered with the University of Washington to develop a
webinar training series with an objective of providing content that will demonstrate and instruct participants how to incorporate the 12 CDC recommendations for prescribing opioids for chronic pain.
We think opioids will solve all pain problems. In fact, they actually can derail recovery efforts. Taking opioids even prior to orthopedic surgery causes worse outcomes. Learn more.
Many people who are addicted to opioids start with a legitimate prescription from their provider. These medications should be prescribed and refilled with caution. Learn more.
Opioid painkiller addiction is a chronic disease of the brain. Usually, medications such as methadone, buprenorphine, or naltrexone are needed to treat it. Learn more.
The psychotherapeutic effects of opioid medications are probably more significant than the pain relieving effects. This is both good and bad. Learn more.
Why opioids cause more deaths than NSAIDs
Prescribers are often concerned about the side-effects of NSAIDs. But opioids are much riskier and dangerous to prescribe. Learn why.
The Opioid Crisis: Considerations for Chronic Pain Management
Dr. Timothy McConnell (left) and Dr. Glenn Waters of Cincinnati are revolutionizing post-operative pain treatment to solve America's prescription drug epidemic.
Meet a doctor who reversed his long-held belief that opioid pain medications were the only way to treat post-operative pain.