The education of primary care providers and patients at the starting point of opioid therapy, as well as of surgeons and other prescribers, is crucial to curbing the current global opioid abuse epidemic.
The education of primary care providers and patients at the starting point of opioid therapy, as well as of surgeons and other prescribers, is crucial to curbing the current global opioid abuse epidemic, according to Adam M. Kaye, PharmD, FASCP, FCPhA, a professor in the Department of Pharmacy Practice at the University of the Pacific Thomas J. Long School of Pharmacy and Health Sciences.
Writing in Current Pain and Headache Reports, Kaye and colleagues said that technologies meant to make it more difficult to abuse opioids—developing pills that produce unpleasant side effects if broken, crushed, or injected—will likely have limited effectiveness in stemming the global epidemic of opioid abuse and are no substitute for education.
“Education is the foremost strategy,” Kaye said. “We must educate primary care providers, surgeons, pharmacists, and other health professionals, as well as patients. That education must take place prior to the starting point of opioid therapy—and it needs to be independent of the pharmaceutical industry.”
In the review article, the authors stated the following:
Kaye and colleagues discussed three drug formulations that have been developed to limit opioid abuse:
The authors wrote that although the first two may protect patients who do not intend to abuse opioids from an inadvertent overdose, neither is likely to deter an intentional opioid abuser. Sequestered opioid antagonists put addicted patients at risk for sudden withdrawal.
“Pharmacists have a big responsibility for cutting down opioid abuse and deaths, whether it's Prince or other celebrities—or the guy down the street,” said Kaye. “We have to be part of primary education efforts.”