In the 1990s, pain was designated as the “fifth vital sign,” and physicians were urged to reduce pain with opioids. Pharmaceutical companies were also heavily marketing opioids to physicians. Since 1999, opioid prescriptions in the United States have more than quadrupled--despite no increases in reported pain.

Current efforts to prevent opioid-related health problems include training physicians on safe opioid prescribing and alternative pain treatments to reduce opioid exposure, educating patients on the dangers of opioid misuse, increasing the availability of naloxone, utilizing prescription drug monitoring programs to identify individuals at high risk for overdose, and introducing state prescription drug laws.

During GHDonline’s week-long Expert Panel, our panelists will explore topics related to provider engagement in the prevention and treatment of opioid use disorder. Our new Expert Panel format makes it easier to contribute to the wide variety of topics surrounding this issue. We look forward to hearing your thoughts across the discussion threads below!