Pain is not a vital sign. It cannot be measured objectively, nor does an extreme value portend crisis as in the case of pulse or blood pressure. The myopic focus on pain in recent decades has been misguided and deleterious, and the opioid crisis is the result. Now, like ostriches with our heads in the sand, we are again playing victims instead of wielding power when we allow customer satisfaction ...

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The opioid overdose epidemic was the centerpiece of U.S. Secretary of Health and Human Services Tom Price, MD’s West Virginia listening tour recently. While the tour was billed as an opportunity to gain knowledge on the epidemic, his response to his observations illustrates just how difficult it is to change attitudes and beliefs with information alone. In response to Herculean state-based and volunteer efforts to keep people alive -- not to ...

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Jimmy spent 10 years on the street chasing oxys and heroin. He lost his family and friends after lying and stealing. He lost his truck when the bank repossessed it. He lost his four-year-old son to the Department of Child Protective services. His life was like a country song. Now a member of our suboxone group, Jimmy has two years of sobriety under his belt, he is enrolled at the local ...

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Sometime during my medical training in the early 1980s, a wise, old attending orthopedist taught me this about pain management:

"Pain is a message that something is wrong, a red flag that corrective action is needed. Narcotics should only be used when the cause of the pain is determined and corrected (Post-op or post injury), all other pain management tools have been tried and failed, and it is determined that nothing ...

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After years of exaggeration, misinformation and a national epidemic of opioid and heroin abuse, the nation is finally coming to terms with the fact that pain is not the fifth vital sign. This heresy, as I understand it, has existed for close to three decades and, in my opinion, has been directly responsible for the deaths of thousands of patients and lethal drug overdoses of hundreds of thousands of American ...

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Opioids have become so closely associated with chronic pain that it is nearly impossible to talk about one without the other. When we look back just five years ago, when we were still in residency, news stories about chronic pain and opioid overdoses were not commonplace. Now, we find ourselves almost desensitized to each new opioid headline. We are general internists, primary care providers and junior faculty. We practice at ...

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I recently took a three hour online course on something I learned to do when I was a medical student. And I thought it was something I had been doing fairly well for the past 20 years.

New regulations have come down requiring all practitioners to take a CME-certified course on safe and effective management of opiates for acute and chronic pain. This has clearly ...

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According to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), the U.S. in the midst of a major public health crisis regarding the misuse of opioid medications.| Today, more people die of overdoses related to the use of opioids than any other drug or medication. In fact, opioid deaths (including the use of heroin) have quadrupled since 1999. Approximately 650,000 prescriptions are written for opioid medications every day in the ...

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As New Jersey Governor Chris Christie takes the lead in crafting the Trump administration’s response to the opioid crisis, he and his colleagues need to understand that we can’t fix the problem until we kick our long-term addiction to the war on drugs and accept overdoses for what they are: a health ...

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Drug overdose is the leading cause of accidental death in the U.S., and opioids account for over 60 percent of those deaths. While opioids are effective pain medications when used in the proper setting, concerns arise when the patient’s condition lasts longer than three months, and prescribing more medication does not necessarily result in better pain control. Building a strong doctor-patient rapport can help facilitate conversations with patients about ...

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