Two days ago the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention released new guidelines aimed at reducing addiction to opioids, and preventing overdoses (which numbered 28,000 in 2014, according to the CDC).
Here’s a brief overview of why physicians took on painkillers:
1) 100 million people in the United States suffer from pain
2) 9 to 12 million have chronic pain
3) Growing evidence of harm associated with long-term opioid prescriptions
4) Little research into benefits of long-term prescriptions
5) 28,000 U.S. residents/citizens died of opioid overdoses in 2014
6) Many parents of children prescribed opioids fail to recognize signs of over-sedation (thus putting children at risk of overdose)
7) 8.9% of opioid prescriptions among infants 0 to 2 months contained potential overdose quantities
In summary, the general consensus is that neither the medications nor the prescriptions have been given adequate oversight. Thus the CDC’s guidelines, which are voluntary for prescribers, and thus the belief that better management will reduce opioid deaths in the U.S.
1-4: New England Journal of Medicine
5: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
6: The Clinical Journal of Pain
7. Clinical Pediatrics