January 13, 2016 – Opioid Prescribing


Anchor lead: The CDC has drafted a document to guide physicians in prescribing opioids, Elizabeth Tracey reports

2014 was a record year for deaths in the United States due to prescription opioid drugs and heroin, which people often turn to if they can’t get the prescription drug.  As part of its strategy to curb these deaths, the CDC has released a draft document for physicians on when such drugs should be used.  Eric Strain, a drug abuse expert at Johns Hopkins, comments.

Strain: The guidelines are really for primary care physicians.  The field really does need some guidelines on proper use of opioids for painful conditions, and so this is a step forward.  But I would point out that another thing that comes out of this is we really don’t have anywhere near enough research to make informed decisions about the recommendations they want to make.   :21

Strain hopes that state-run databases on docs and patients relative to opioids may help stem the tide.

Strain: I’m not sure that we need a national database of people who are prescribed opioids.  I think that those state programs are probably a good step forward in that direction and we should see how effective those can be    :12

At Johns Hopkins, I’m Elizabeth Tracey.