Faculty and Clinical Instructor Course Director, Pain and Addiction Distinguished Visiting Scholar In Medical Humanities, Compassionate Care, and Bioethics Stony Brook University Renaissance School of Medicine Stony Brook, New York
There is a significant amount of media, political, and public attention paid to the opioid crisis/opioid epidemic in the United States today. With the seemingly ever-increasing number of opioid-related overdoses and fatalities, there has been a feverish push by stakeholders to diminish the amount of opioids prescribed in order to help stem these worrisome trends. Unfortunately, there may be a lack of focus regarding the true definition and characterization of the opioid epidemic. There may also be a rush to judgment about the role of appropriately prescribed opioid analgesics in the addiction crisis we face today as well. This presentation will discuss the roles and statistics of both prescription and illicit opioids (namely heroin and fentanyl) in today’s “opioid overdose epidemic” with the intention of clarifying important differences and similarities between these competing epidemics including concerns and clinical considerations specific to each of them. Additionally, this program will examine and identify how these medications and drugs share potentially tragic adverse effect profiles in many cases. However, it is important for clinicians to make sure that appropriate chronic pain patients that may be candidates for opioid analgesic therapy aren’t penalized, and still get the treatment that they deserve.
Describe the opioid overdose crisis in the United States today
Discuss common beliefs and inconsistencies about the role of prescription opioids in the opioid crisis
Identify the intersection of illicit drug use and clinical pain practice in today’s “opioid epidemic”
Provide clinically relevant recommendations for navigating the current landscape without depriving pain care to patients in need