Despite efforts to combat the nation’s growing opioid crisis, a new research report, The United States of Non-Dependence shows Americans continue to be exposed to an exorbitant number of opioids. In fact, in 2016 alone there were enough pills prescribed for every man, woman and child in the U.S. to have 36 pills each.
The research, conducted by the QuintilesIMS Institute, is the most current analysis of national trends in opioid prescribing and discovered that overprescribing is posing a serious threat to our communities. In 2016 alone 3.3 billion pills were left unused by patients who had surgery, making them available for diversion or misuse. Further, the majority of patients received an opioid to manage postsurgical pain, and those given prescriptions were prescribed an average of 85 pills each, whether they needed them or not. This report continues to validate how the surgical setting has become an inadvertent gateway to the growing opioid epidemic.
Now more than ever, it is important to educate the public and empower patients to talk to their doctors about pain management options, especially in the postsurgical setting where patients can benefit from the availability of effective non-opioid options.
Shatterproof and professional athlete, Gabby Reece, have recently partnered with the Choices Matter campaign to encourage patients, caregivers and physicians to discuss postsurgical pain management, including non-opioid options, before surgery takes place. This campaign provides an opportunity to drive consideration for alternatives, which can potentially minimize or, in some cases, completely eliminate the need for opioids after surgery, therefore reducing the risk of misuse and addiction.
By educating physicians about proper opioid prescribing and alternate ways to manage pain after surgery, we’re hopeful that fewer families will be devastated by this epidemic.
The Choices Matter PSA encourages viewers to learn about non-opioid options and “pledge” to take a stand against opioid overprescribing.
For more information, visit PlanAgainstPain.com.