Caution with Interpretation of Rising Opioid Overdose Rates

July 3rd, 2013 by

The CDC has released new data suggesting a rise in opioid (“painkiller”) overdose rates in women. Clearly, the situation with prescribing opioids for pain control is serious and requires careful consideration. Nevertheless, good medicine mandates caution in order to prevent over-reaction with unintended consequences. The lesson is that health care providers have to be careful – as with most medications – and may, at times, have to make difficult choices and have difficult conversations with patients. But creating poorly considered legislation and/or mandating options that fail to recognize the very real potential good that these medications can do is not the right path. Many patients will suffer if there is not rational planning for how to provide the right medication, in the right amount, to the right patient.

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