Current Postoperative Pain Management Protocols Contribute to the Opioid Epidemic in the United States.

American journal of orthopedics (Belle Mead, N.J.)

PubMedID: 26447431

Kelly MA. Current Postoperative Pain Management Protocols Contribute to the Opioid Epidemic in the United States. Am J Orthop. 2015;44(10 Suppl):S5-8.
There is growing concern about the emergence of an "opioid epidemic" in the United States, where the abuse of opioids has had a devastating impact on public health and safety. Around 250 million prescriptions for pain medication are now written each year in this country, and 46 people die from an overdose of a prescription pain medication every day. A very strong correlation has been shown to exist between therapeutic exposure to opioid analgesics and the abuse of those drugs. In addition, opioid-related adverse events are a leading cause of preventable harm in hospitals and, as a result, these events have become a focus of attention for the Joint Commission, which has issued a Sentinel Event Alert on the safe use of opioids. A variety of government organizations and expert groups, such as the American Society of Anesthesiologists Task Force on Acute Pain Management, now recommend multimodal analgesia and weighing the benefits and risks of systemic opioids. The Joint Commission also has recommended that strategies for pain management include a patient-centered approach that takes into consideration the accompanying risks and benefits-including the potential risk of dependency, addiction, and abuse.