Pain, opiates and addiction

This is not news, but there’s no reason to fear treating pain patients with opiates. Few pain patients develop problems with the drugs.

However, I’d add two side concerns that could/should be addressed in ways that do not result in inadequate pain treatment.

First, diversion is a huge problem. 12% of 18 to 25 year olds reported nonmedical use of pain relievers in the last year. This problem could be addressed without depriving patients of treatment.

Second, physicians need to be educated about addiction. I can’t tell you how many clients have gone to the ER for minor injuries and were prescribed Vicodin even after they explained that they are a recovering addict and do not want anything mood altering.