Bioethics News

Roots of Opioid Epidemic Can Be Traced Back to Two Key Changes in Pain Management

March 17, 2016

(The Conversation) – Abuse of opium products obtained from poppy plants dates back centuries, but today we are witnessing the first instance of widespread abuse of legal, prescribed drugs that, while structurally similar to illicit opioids such as heroin, are used for sound medical practices. So how did we get here? We can trace the roots of today’s epidemic back to two well-intentioned changes in how we treat pain: early recognition and proactive treatment of pain and the introduction of OxyContin, the first extended release opioid painkiller.

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