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US Opioid Epidemic Fueled by Prescribing Practices

By Pam Harrison

The United States is facing the worst “man-made epidemic” of opioid abuse in the history of modern medicine, and it is the direct result of poor research and outdated teaching practices, according to a leading pain expert.

“There’s been over 200,000 deaths from prescription opioids and many more hundreds of thousands of overdose admissions, and millions are addicted or dependent on prescription opioids, and while some patients don’t meet the classic definition of opioid use disorder, as many as 30% of patients who are sitting across from you in your office have opioid use disorder or are severely dependent,” Gary Franklin, MD, MPH, vice president of Physicians for Responsible Opioid Prescribing, said during a Webinar sponsored by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s Clinician Outreach and Communication Activity (COCA).

“So this is an extremely serious epidemic, and while I know that taking care of these patients is not an easy thing to do, we need to reduce overdose deaths and admissions, and we have ways to reverse trends which we all need to embrace.”


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