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Invited Commentary
November 11, 2020

Children Are Not Little Adults When Prescribing Opioids

Author Affiliations
  • 1Pediatric Surgery, University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center, Dallas
JAMA Surg. 2021;156(1):91. doi:10.1001/jamasurg.2020.5150

A very timely and important article by Kelley-Quon et al1 in this issue of JAMA Surgery should influence the practice of every surgeon in the US who provides care to children undergoing surgery. Highlighting the tremendous importance of the outcomes of opioid use in the US, the president of the US, at the urging of public health experts, has declared a national emergency and advocated the use of all appropriate authorities (emergency and otherwise)2 to combat the epidemic. The authors1 have taken that call to heart by convening a group of surgeons and other experts focused on children’s surgical care to answer the many questions about the use of opioids for perioperative pain in children. Importantly, this group focused on the available evidence and guidelines to advocate in a data-driven way. Their emphasis on the data provided a much-needed basis for individual surgeons and institutions to set up prescribing guidelines and perioperative opioid administration.

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