the health & safety of your patients

The CDC estimates that approximately 20% of patients who are prescribed opioids account for an estimated 80% of opioid overdoses.  These patients tend to fall into one of two groups: those who are prescribed high doses (in excess of 100 mg morphine equivalent dose per day) by a single practitioner, and those who seek care from multiple practitioners and are prescribed high daily doses.  These patients also tend to divert opioid medication to others who do not have prescriptions.

Opioid addiction and diversion can be reduced by prescribing appropriate opioid dosages to patients and by educating them on responsible usage. 

  • Remember to explain to patients that an opioid medication should only be used during times of acute pain.

  • Know that prescribing a 30 day supply of opioids will often result in unused pills remaining in medicine cabinets.

  • Long term use of opioids should only occur after extensive patient evaluation and discussions about proper usage.

  • Extended- release opioids are not appropriate for managing acute pain.

  • Screen patients for depression and other psychiatric disorders before beginning opioid treatment.

  • Performing random urine drug screens on patients using opioids will help identify patients using illicit drugs or abusing their prescriptions.

  • Remember not to assume that patients know how to use their opioid medications correctly.

  • If substance abuse is identified, taper the opioid prescription and make arrangements for substance abuse treatment. 

National Treatment Referral Hotline: 1-800-662-HELP