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Video and text: What is physicians’ role in opioid epidemic?

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In this video in Med Page Today, F. Perry Wilson, M.D., looks at the data in an article in the journal Pain on physicians’ role in the opioid epidemic. He observes:

“Those who got opioids were more likely to have an antecedent history of opioid use disorder, substance use disorder, and a host of other psychiatric problems. They were also significantly more likely to have received psychotropic medications.

“So opioid prescriptions are going to some high-risk individuals. But how many of those would turn into chronic users?

“The study concludes – not that many. After 18 months, only 1.3% of individuals had transitioned from one-time to chronic use … at least based on prescription records.

“How do we think about that 1.3%? It may seem like a small percentage that isn’t worth worrying about, but multiply that by the number of prescriptions we’re handing out per year: about one for every person in the country.”

He concludes:

“In 2016, the CDC came down hard on opioid prescriptions for chronic conditions. This is the correct framework. Are docs responsible for the rise in opioid abuse and deaths in this country? Not exclusively. But we can’t deny that somewhere in the chain of events that leads to opioid abuse lies a prescription pad.”

To hear and read Dr. Wilson’s remarks, please hit this link.

To read the study in Pain, please hit this link.

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