Hearing the Unmet Needs of Patients Suffering Chronic Pain 3905 CLUM opioid ebook TCL single pages no crops 1 | Page 7

About 30 years ago there was a very important shift in the attitude of medicine as to how pain should be appreciated and addressed . At that time , it was thought that the response to pain was inadequate . Soon pain began to be monitored as a new vital sign – something as important as pulse , blood pressure or temperature . As more attention was paid to assessing pain , more attention was directed toward addressing pain .
A new attitude was applied to the use of certain medications , especially opioid-containing compounds . Up until this time , opioids were prescribed for severe , intractable pain such as advanced stage cancer pain or post-surgical pain . In the early 1990s , this all changed . New opioid formulations were promoted as being less addictive than previously thought , and physicians were encouraged to prescribe these drugs far more liberally than they ever had before . Unfortunately , they heeded the new advice , and the seeds of the opioid crisis we are now experiencing were sown in the offices of nearly every prescriber in the nation .

The American Dream or an American Nightmare ?

There were quite a number of problems that emerged from this new prescribing approach of America ’ s physicians , dentists , emergency rooms and clinics . First , patients quickly adapted to the drugs , requiring larger doses to achieve the same effect over time . Second , the drugs weren ’ t particularly good at addressing chronic pain ; they did the job for a few days , but then the value of the drugs waned . Third , the drugs came with a euphoric effect that quickly led to addiction . Before we knew it , the fire in the hearth that had been started to warm us soon burnt down our home , our neighbor ’ s home and then the entire village – it became an out-of-control inferno .
Now 30 years down the road we are consumed with an opioid crisis . We want to jail those who profited from the disaster , fine those that manufactured and distributed these products and vilify those that filled out the prescription pads to fuel the fire . Certainly , as a society we need to deal with those who used their influence and talents to victimize and harm our population . But we also need to understand that countless well-intentioned persons and businesses were caught up in the misinformation and disinformation of the moment and not acting from greed .
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