Shedding Light on an Often Overlooked Patient Population

Shedding Light on an Often Overlooked Patient Population

03.11.14 | By Kaelan Hollon

The recent spotlight on prescription drug abuse has overshadowed an important patient population that must deal with chronic pain everyday. Addicts, overdoses and mentions of the “opioid epidemic” in the media has made is increasingly difficult for the people who depend on these medicines to be able to get them. A recent article in The Washington Post finally addressed this issue, and emphasized that despite what is largely written in the media, some patients need opioids as a result of debilitating conditions.

Many people fail to recognize that if you look at the recent research on this subject, most opioid addicts were never pain patients and instead began as street users. Additionally, less than one percent of patients without a prior history of addiction actually became addicted to opioids during long-term opioid treatment for chronic pain. 

Ultimately, the article concludes that while the use of opioids is a highly contentious topic, increasingly regulating the prescribing of these medicines won’t address addiction problems. Addiction is a real issue, but sensationalizing it and failing to accurately capture both sides only puts patients at risk. The people who really need these medicines must have access to them and not be forgotten.

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