42,000. That’s the number of CDC reported overdose deaths in 2016 due to opioids. Ten percent. That’s the percentage of the estimated 2.1 million opioid substance abusers receiving treatment help and even fewer afforded medication-assisted treatment (MAT) for their struggles. Three percent or around 40,000. That’s the number of physicians out of a total of 1.3 million across the U.S. qualified by ...

Read more...

I've been practicing as an interventional pain management physician for over six years. It was a long road to get here -- four years of medical school, four years of residency in anesthesiology and one year of fellowship (in addition to the four years of undergraduate education). So people say, "You must really love what you do." Sure, during residency there was light at the end of the grueling tunnel ...

Read more...

Six months ago, I had severe right flank pain. In the ER, I had an ultrasound showing a possible kidney stone. I deferred a CT scan and went home with medication. I fit the textbook picture: I had abnormal imaging, and I was given a treatment and discharged. I was advised to return if the pain worsened or failed to resolve. I briefly improved, but then the pain returned much ...

Read more...

The devastating opioid epidemic is one of the largest public health problems facing the U.S. Over 2.5 million people in the U.S. suffer from opioid use disorder. Four in five new heroin users started out misusing prescription painkillers. A 2015 analysis by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention found people who are addicted to painkillers are 40 times more likely to ...

Read more...

I’m an ED physician, so I’m used to patients screaming at me — sometimes with earsplitting demands for heavy-duty painkillers, morphine drips and similar remedies that will numb or “fix” them. I can deal with this. What I can’t deal with is a health system that incentivizes physicians like me to medicate adult patients, especially those at high risk for substance abuse, with little thought given to their long-term wellbeing. As ...

Read more...

We’re all human beings, but we’re not all alike. Each person experiences pain differently, from an emotional perspective as well as a physical one, and responds to pain differently. That means that physicians like myself need to evaluate patients on an individual basis and find the best way to treat their pain. Today, however, doctors are under pressure to limit costs and prescribe treatments based on standardized guidelines. A major gap looms ...

Read more...

While our elected officials in Washington spin political rhetoric and quote scary statistics around the opioid epidemic, New Jersey was one of the first states to take actual action. In February of this year,  New Jersey Attorney General Gurbir Grewal declared its plan of combat: a 24-hour response team, improvements to the prescription monitoring program, and over a million dollars in federal grants. In fact, the Office of ...

Read more...

When it comes to the opioid epidemic, physicians are some of the best drug dealers around with almost unrestricted access to the purest substances. As the opioid epidemic spirals out of control, physicians continue to be able to provide their patients with a variety of options, including oxycodone, morphine and fentanyl. Many people would be surprised to know that physicians don’t need any additional training to prescribe opiates to their ...

Read more...

When I was 12, my father got into a bicycle accident resulting in traumatic brain injury. Although I was unaware of it at the time, this day became the first day of the rest of my life. Despite having never seen either of my parents so much as have a sip of wine with dinner, I watched my father spiral into a crippling alcohol addiction that wreaked havoc on our lives. As ...

Read more...

Have you ever had a prescription altered? I have, several times — all opioids. Despite making copies of every prescription to prove what I actually wrote for, dealing with everything from patients who threatened to sue me for false accusations to time spent with the DEA was a real pain. The good news is that during the pre "pain as fifth vital sign" era at least — since my prescribing ...

Read more...

17 Pages

Most Popular

Join 141,000+ subscribers

Get the best of KevinMD in your inbox

Sign me up! It's free. 
close-link
✓ Join 141,000+ subscribers 
✓ Get KevinMD's 5 most popular stories
Subscribe. It's free.
close-image