In the last decade, the number of opioid related deaths has been skyrocketing. According to the CDC this number has quadrupled from 1999 to 2015, with nearly 100 deaths occurring daily in the US from opioid overdoses.
In the early 1990s pain management was a growing concern and with the aid of the pharmaceutical industry people became convinced that NSAIDs (Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs) could not manage moderate to severe pain. Doctors began prescribing, and even overprescribing, opioids. No one at the time realized what the addictive effects of these drugs would be. No one realized the concern over giving patients more drugs than they could need.
Now we have a serious problem that we, the doctors, have created; but we are also working to help resolve this problem. Many states, including North Carolina, now have begun mandating safe opioid prescribing classes for all prescribers.
Together our goal will be keeping our patients pain free and comfortable without worrying about any long term consequences from opioid use.
If you want more information, visit the CDC, or read any of these interesting articles on DrugAbuse.gov, BusinessInsider.com and NPR.org.