Study Shows Physician Attitudes Reflect Level of Opioid Prescriptions

Science Daily reported on a study that was recently published in the Journal of Pain linking doctors’ attitudes toward opioids and the amount prescribed.

According to researchers, the study was designed to develop a reliable and valid measurement to assess current and evolving beliefs regarding opioids and opioid use in patients with chronic pain, with respect to location and specialty areas of practice. More than 1,500 doctors were included in the questionnaire that inquired about 38 different measures surrounding opiate narcotics. The five main areas examined were the perceived effectiveness, tamper-resistant formulations, impediments and concerns, medical education and Schedule II vs. Schedule III medications.

No significant differences were cited by the survey regarding geographical regions, but several were noticed among the varying medical specialties. Orthopedists were most cautious about concerns regarding long-term opioid use and had the least confidence in the efficacy of the drugs, whereas pain medicine and rehabilitation specialists were the most confident in efficacy.

The Science Daily article said that the majority of the doctors who were surveyed reported they use opioids in fewer than 30 percent of their patients with chronic non-cancer pain. However, physicians who see higher volumes of pain patients were more likely to prescribe opiates.

This survey comes at a time when narcotic pain medication abuse and overdoses are at an all-time high. Granted, there are additional problems when it comes to treating chronic pain patients who require opiates for better lives, but there is an even more difficult time in treating patients who begin abusing their pain medication, even if unintentionally as a result of tolerance.

Given the number of people who are chronic pain patients and are taking opiates, some addiction treatment centers have begun researching ways to deal with such a sensitive issue. If you or someone you love is struggling with chronic pain and also needs a rehabilitation program for prescription opiates, we can help.