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May 2016

Limiting the Duration of Opioid PrescriptionsBalancing Excessive Prescribing and the Effective Treatment of Pain

Author Affiliations
  • 1Division of Pharmacoepidemiology and Pharmacoeconomics, Department of Medicine, Brigham and Women’s Hospital, Boston, Massachusetts
  • 2Department of Anesthesia, Critical Care, and Pain Medicine, Massachusetts General Hospital, Harvard Medical School, Boston, Massachusetts
  • 3Division of Pharmacoepidemiology and Pharmacoeconomics and the Center for Healthcare Delivery Sciences, Department of Medicine, Brigham and Women’s Hospital, Harvard Medical School, Boston, Massachusetts

Copyright 2016 American Medical Association. All Rights Reserved. Applicable FARS/DFARS Restrictions Apply to Government Use.

JAMA Intern Med. 2016;176(5):583-584. doi:10.1001/jamainternmed.2016.0544

Prescription opioid misuse is a major public health issue in the United States. Since the late 1990s, sales of prescription opioids have risen 4-fold, and the rates of admissions for substance use treatment and of death from opioid overdose have grown proportionately.1 In response, training programs about the appropriate prescribing of opioid therapy have been developed, prescription monitoring programs implemented, and access to naloxone facilitated to reduce deaths among people who overdose. In general, these strategies focus on detecting and preventing harm in those who are already dependent on or misusing opioids. Although the impact of many of these programs is uncertain, the opioid epidemic continues to grow.

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