Clinical solutions to chronic pain and the opiate epidemic

Matthew Murray, Alexander Stone, Virginia Pearson, Glenn Jordan Treisman

Research output: Contribution to journalReview article

Abstract

The current opiate epidemic has caused tens of thousands of deaths annually and hundreds of billions in economic losses. From 1979 to 2015, accidental opiate-related deaths increased by 4250%. Despite its magnitude, the driving forces remain poorly understood. A narrow understanding by physicians, administrators and policy makers has resulted in a clinical approach to chronic pain treatment misguided by expediency, shortsighted cost reduction, pharmaceutical profit, and patient satisfaction. Until the broken elements are well understood, effective policy solutions will remain elusive. In this review, we describe the first comprehensive timeline of significant contributing factors between 1979 and the present. To address the complexity of treating patients with chronic pain and its contribution to opiate overuse, we outline an alternative clinical and health systems approach to chronic pain therapy. Addressing the underlying drivers will require empowering physicians to use clinical judgment over guidelines and algorithms to provide holistic, high-quality healthcare to individual victims of the opiate epidemic.

LanguageEnglish (US)
Pages171-175
Number of pages5
JournalPreventive Medicine
Volume118
DOIs
StatePublished - Jan 1 2019

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Opiate Alkaloids
Chronic Pain
Administrative Personnel
Physicians
Quality of Health Care
Systems Analysis
Patient Satisfaction
Economics
Guidelines
Costs and Cost Analysis
Health
Therapeutics
Pharmaceutical Preparations

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Epidemiology
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health

Cite this

Clinical solutions to chronic pain and the opiate epidemic. / Murray, Matthew; Stone, Alexander; Pearson, Virginia; Treisman, Glenn Jordan.

In: Preventive Medicine, Vol. 118, 01.01.2019, p. 171-175.

Research output: Contribution to journalReview article

Murray, Matthew ; Stone, Alexander ; Pearson, Virginia ; Treisman, Glenn Jordan. / Clinical solutions to chronic pain and the opiate epidemic. In: Preventive Medicine. 2019 ; Vol. 118. pp. 171-175.
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