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addiction, prescription pain medication

A new study shows that addiction to prescription pain medication is something that a lot of primary care physicians do not understand, even though these same physicians are the top prescribers of these drugs in many areas. The survey showed that a significant number of PCPs do not have a basic understanding of how opioid abuse occurs or about the addiction potential that this class of drugs can have. According to the leader of the study, Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School’s Department of Epidemiology associate professor and Center for Drug Safety and Effectiveness co-director Caleb Alexander, M.D., M.S., “Physicians and patients may mistakenly view these medicines as safe in one form and dangerous in another, but these products are addictive no matter how you take them. If doctors and patients fail to understand this, they may believe opioids are safer than is actually the case and prescribe them more readily than they should.”

The latest prescription pain medication study shows the continuing efforts to understand, identify, and treat opioid addiction in the communities across America. Opiod abuse and addiction has been on the rise, and so has the amount of these drugs on the street. Dr. Alexander continued by saying “Doctors continue to overestimate the effectiveness of prescription pain medications and underestimate their risks, and that’s why we are facing such a public health crisis. Opioids serve an important role in the treatment of some patients. However, our findings highlight the importance of patient and provider education regarding what abuse-deterrent products can and cannot do. When it comes to the opioid epidemic, we must be cautious about overreliance on technological fixes for what is first and foremost a problem of overprescribing.” Alexander also stated “Despite the high levels of support, there are many barriers to implementation and there may be reluctance to translate these changes into real-world practice. But for the sake of making a dent in an epidemic of injuries and deaths, we have to find ways to make changes. Too many lives are at stake to stick with the status quo.”