The Food and Drug Administration has just announced new opioid prescribing guidelines for physicians.
The new guidance is simple.
- If your patient doesn’t have a history of addiction, educate them about naloxone (often referred to as Narcan), a drug that can counteract an opioid overdose in minutes.
- If your patient has a history of addiction, consider prescribing naloxone with the opioid prescription.
Narcan is available as a nasal spray, injection and automatic injector and does not require a prescription.
A couple of comments…
Seventy-one thousand Americans died from drug overdoses last year – so this action by the FDA is sensible and may help slow overdose deaths from prescription opioids.
Something else is also needed.
Physicians still all too often routinely prescribe opioids for pain management. Go to any emergency room in the U.S. with a painful injury or a flareup of osteoarthritis and chances are you will be given opioids – often without questions about risk or history.
Opioids are one of the most addictive and therefore dangerous drugs on earth. That is a fact. The epidemic of addiction and overdose deaths over 20 years is proof.
And we know, there are a myriad of effective alternative measures that can be recommended to those in pain.
For those now hooked on illicit opioids – better interventions and treatment are our only hope.
If you are struggling with an addiction to drugs and/or alcohol and need help with any aspect of care in Connecticut, Eastern Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Florida, or Southern Maine, the recovery teams at Aware Recovery Care are here to help. Our unique model of care is giving clients a significantly better chance of recovery when compared to traditional inpatient rehab care.