February 3, 2017 – A Path Forward


Anchor lead:  How can we stem the tide of opioid addiction? Elizabeth Tracey reports

Prescription opioid drugs are useful and humane for those in extreme pain, but they are associated with predictable dependency and withdrawal issues, so physicians who prescribe them need to consider how to stop these drugs as well as start them.  That’s one assertion made by Travis Rieder, a bioethicist at the Berman Institute of Bioethics at Johns Hopkins and author of a recent essay in Health Affairs.

Rieder: We need physicians who prescribe this medication to either be better educated on how to use this medication. Some of them have never taken a course, never been formally mentored in how to use opioids long term, in how to manage them. Or we need them to know that that has to happen somewhere, and so to be able to reliably and predictably pass them on to someone who will able to give that sort of help, and that will require systematic sort of change.   :26

Rieder says his own self-managed withdrawal experience in the wake of several surgeries renders him passionate about the opioid epidemic. At Johns Hopkins, I’m Elizabeth Tracey.