Bottle of spilling medicine

In 2018, 9.9 million people reported misuse of prescription pain relievers, such as opioids, during the past year on the National Survey on Drug Use and Health. Doctors prescribe opioids to treat moderate to severe pain, often following a surgery or injury or for certain health conditions. Some patients may experience negative side effects, even when they take their opioid medication as directed.

While opioids can be an important part of treatment, they also come with serious risks. That is why it is important to work with your doctor to make sure you are getting the safest, most effective care. A simple conversation with your doctor can help prevent opioid addiction and overdose. Read More. 

Prescription opioids are among the most-prescribed drugs in the nation and patients are often uninformed about the safety and effectiveness of these powerful medications. Having a conversation between the healthcare professional and patient can help identify the best results for managing pain.   

Before prescribing an opioid, licensed prescribers should meet with patients and ensure they know and understand the following: 

  • The dangers of opioid addiction 
  • How to properly dispose of unused opioid drugs 
  • Symptoms of opioid addiction and overdose 
  • Potential need for a pain contract 
  • The use of reversal drugs if on high doses of opioids or co-prescribed a benzodiazepine 

The CDC’s Guideline for prescribing opioids for chronic pain Module 3: Communicating with Patients provides strategies for communicating effectively with patients about pain management and opioid use. Access the full CDC Guideline for Prescribing Opioids for Chronic Pain.