Providing safe and effective pain control can be achieved despite the serious public health crisis of the opioid overdose and misuse epidemic currently affecting the United States and other countries. This talk will review the evolution of the present-day opioid epidemic to better understand current risks. Terminology associated with addiction, currently referred to as substance use disorder, will be defined. Assessment of pain is imperative, with a shift away from intensity to functional ability. Risk factors for misuse must also be assessed. These findings inform the treatment regimen, including whether opioids are indicated, and if so, what mitigating strategies must be implicated to reduce the risk of misuse. Techniques such as harm reduction, weaning and safe handling will be addressed.
The nation is facing competing public health issues: the need to treat a large number of Americans with acute and chronic pain versus the crisis of prescription opioid abuse. Pri-Med’s Strategies for Effective Pain Management curriculum focuses on improving practitioners’ ability to recognize, diagnose, and classify pain; educating clinicians on the full spectrum of pain management options, including non-opioid pharmacologic interventions; and providing risk reduction strategies through integration of opioids into individualized pain management plans. Clinicians will learn to recognize signs and symptoms of opioid dependence and abuse to manage patients’ pain and medication use optimally.