New Opioid Prescribing Laws Could Potentially Harm Pain Patients

Opioid risks could potentially be sensationalized by the media and lead to less treatment options for patients.

Newer legislation to prevent opioid misuse and overdose could potentially be harming pain patients, a recent study found.

"There is a disturbing tendency among doctors, politicians and the media in the US to be preoccupied by certain aspects of opioids: their benefits are questioned and their risks sensationalized," said co-author Willem Scholten, PharmD, MPA.

Researchers believe this misrepresentation of opioids could potentially make people forget about the usefulness of these drugs for pain management purposes, according to a study published in the Journal of Pain & Palliative Care Pharmacotherapy.

Researchers suggest that balance and comprehensive legislation based on facts is more beneficial to the general population than what is being portrayed in the media. Regular assessment of pain and functioning, education about the correct use of medication, and educating patients about how to dispose of unused medications are all recommendations for safe prescription of opioids that are discussed in the study.

The researchers understand that new legislation aims to protect individuals; however, they suggest going about it in a different way.

"Blocking access to prescription opioids should not have a negative impact on pain treatment or worsen overall harmful substance use," Dr Scholten concluded.