Report: Too few doctors counsel their patients on painkiller dangers

By Staff Writer

Prescription pain medications have made it possible for individuals who are recovering from surgery or suffer from chronic pain to live their lives to the fullest extent possible. However, when these drugs are misused, they can result in powerful addictions that may force people to seek substance abuse treatment.

However, many physicians may be giving their patients opioid medications without first counseling them on the risks involved. A recent survey conducted by the American Chronic Pain Association found that only 28 percent of patients who were prescribed painkillers were asked by their doctor to sign an opioid agreement, which provides information on the dangers of the drugs.

“Opioids can be an important part of an overall pain management strategy. But they are powerful drugs and must be treated with care,”said Penny Cowan, executive director of the association. “Our study indicates that we still have much work to do to ensure that individuals who can benefit from opioids know how to take them, store them, and dispose of them properly.”

Cowan added that people treat prescription opioids the same way they would treat $100 bills to prevent them from falling into the hands of individuals who would intentionally misuse them.