It’s not hard to imagine an opioid epidemic when most Americans are becoming addicted through doctor visits and continuous prescription write-ups. Opioid sales have risen 300 percent since 1999, and in 2012, providers wrote 259 million prescriptions for opioids, enough for every American adult to have his/her own bottle.
As a result The Centers for Disease Control is in the process of releasing new official opioid prescribing guidelines for primary-care physicians. This is the first time a guideline of this extent is being done by a federal agency. Here are some of the highlights that are being developed:
Existing guidelines vary in recommendations, and primary care providers say they receive insufficient training in prescribing opioid pain relievers. It is important that patients receive appropriate pain treatment, and that the benefits and risks of treatment options are carefully considered.
Fact 1: 259 million
In 2012, health care providers wrote 259 million prescriptions for opioid pain relievers – enough for every American adult to have a bottle of pills.
Fact 2: 300% increase
Prescription opioid sales in the United States have increased by 300% since 1999,2 but there has not been an overall change in the amount of pain Americans report.3,4
Fact 3: 2 million
Almost 2 million Americans, age 12 or older, either abused or were dependent on opioid pain relievers in 2013.5
Fact 4: 16 thousand
In 2013, more than 16,000 people died in the United States from overdose related to opioid pain relievers, four times the number in 1999.
Improving the way opioids are prescribed through clinical practice guidelines can ensure patients have access to safer, more effective chronic pain treatment while reducing the number of people who misuse, abuse, or overdose from these powerful drugs.
Draft CDC Guideline for Prescribing Opioids for Chronic Pain
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is publishing new guideline for prescribing opioids for chronic pain. The agency is working for timely release of the guideline while ensuring that the development process:
• Meets scientific standards
• Includes expert consultation
• Allows for appropriate stakeholders to provide input
• Facilitates partnership development to enhance dissemination and uptake
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