Opinion: Opioid overprescribing is not a myth

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Opinion: Opioid overprescribing is not a myth

March 14, 2018

Experts on the opioid epidemic make their case in Politico about what is causing the opioid epidemic.

"Let us be clear: Opioid use disorder is common in chronic pain patients treated with long-term opioids, and our nation’s opioid addiction epidemic stems largely from the overprescribing of opioids for the treatment of pain."

The authors -- Dr. Jane Ballantyne (anesthesiology and pain medicine); Gary Franklin (environmental and occupational health, neurology, and health services); and colleague at Brandeis University -- take issue with an article in Politico by Dr. Sally Satel, a resident scholar at the American Enterprise Institute. Satel suggests that efforts to promote more cautious prescribing are harming patients with chronic pain.

"We suggest the opposite: that a lack of understanding of chronic pain, and an over-reliance on opioids to treat it, is compounding both the opioid crisis and the problem of inadequately treated chronic pain."

Ballantyne and Franklin have been instrumental in establishing new guidelines for opioid prescribing in Washington state (2007)  that were followed by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in 2016.