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Dramatic increases in opioid prescriptions are leading to increases in opioid addicitons and overdose deaths. In response to this crisis, we developed our Opioid Strategy.
The idea that doctors undertreat pain, and that opioids are relatively safe and effective pain relievers was promoted starting about 20 years ago. This has led to a dramatic increase in opioid prescriptions with a corresponding increase in opioid addiction and overdose deaths.
To alleviate the current opioid crisis in the United States and Canada, we need to work on providing adequate pain relief while ensuring patients and their social circle are not exposed to addictive opioid medications. We know this is possible because most of the world provides adequate pain relief with minimal use of prescription opioids. There is also evidence that greater opioid intake is associated with more pain and less satisfaction with pain relief, and that the best pain relievers are a positive mood and adaptive coping strategies.
A culture change created the opioid crisis and only a culture change will solve it.
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