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New study connects opioid addiction to ER prescriptions

One of the most vexing, yet important, questions of our time is how can the opioid epidemic that is causing so much harm in our country be stopped? While there does not appear to be any quick fixes, there are researchers who are trying to discover the problem's specific root causes.

 

And recently, an associate professor at Harvard produced a study that examined a segment of the medical profession who commonly administer opioids; ER doctors.

What the study's researchers found is that there seems to be a connection between the frequency with which an ER doctor prescribes opioids and the likelihood of a patient developing a long-term addiction.

The ER doctors who were most prone to treating patients with opioids were called "frequent prescribers." And patients who received opioids from frequent prescribers were 30 percent more likely to develop a long-term addiction down the road.

But anyone who goes to an emergency room is likely to be experiencing serious pain that should be treated. So this study does not solve any issues, but rather raises questions regarding the manner in which ER patients should be treated.

Moreover, ER doctors will typically only give patients small amounts of painkillers to deal with the immediate pain. Long-term prescriptions that can have a greater impact on a patient are handed out by personal physicians.

More research is needed to find a balance between effective pain treatment and addiction prevention. But for now, there are far too many people struggling with opioid addictions. And if you have been ensnared by an addiction that led to your arrest for illegal possession of prescription painkillers, it is important to have a knowledgeable advocate help you with your defense.

An experienced criminal defense attorney can explain your options and help guide you through the legal process with an eye on getting you your best possible outcome.

Source: WebMD, "Some Docs May Help Fuel Opioid Abuse Epidemic," Dennis Thompson, Feb. 15, 2017

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