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Can Doctors Safely Prescribe Opioids?


The answer to this question is only available on a case-by-case basis. For example, if a patient has a family history of addiction, it is never safe to prescribe them opioids. Nevertheless, opioid painkillers may be helpful for other patients, as long as they are prescribed with clear and individualized care – and according to CDC guidelines.

Opioids: What’s the Risk?

Opioid painkillers have a chemical composition similar to heroin and are thus extremely addictive. In addition to relieving pain, the medications create a “high,” or sense of euphoria in the brain. Patients can form a dependency in as little as five days, and abuse of these medications can lead to overdose and death. Since 2000, the opioid crisis has claimed the lives of over half a million people.

Treating Chronic Pain

According to the CDC, 11% of adults experience chronic pain. Prescribing opioids can help them manage that pain, but it can also put them at risk. To mitigate this danger and maximize reward, the CDC has established prescription guidelines for opioid painkillers. Included on the list of suggestions are:

  • Instructions on how to consider all options
  • Recommended plans for dosage, duration, follow-up, and discontinuation
  • Advice for preemptively addressing the harms of opioid use

As the guidelines reveal, the only way to safely prescribe opioids is to discuss risks and benefits with patients and have plans in place for the nearly inevitable consequences of treatment with such a dangerous drug.

While physicians can safely prescribe opioids, they should be cautious in doing so.

Any kind of mistake can create a life-altering dependency or claim someone’s life altogether.

How to Handle an Opioid Addiction

To recover from an opioid addiction, you may have to go to an expensive rehab, and you will definitely have to pay for quality outpatient care. If your doctor did not take the proper care in your prescription, they may be liable under medical malpractice laws. If you were prescribed opioid painkillers in the late ‘90s or early 2000s, however, your doctor may have been mislead by deceptive marketing claims from manufacturers like Johnson & Johnson and Purdue Pharma. In either case, you need to contact an attorney today.

At Bertram & Graf, L.L.C., our team adheres to the highest standards of integrity to provide each of our clients with personalized legal solutions. Call us at (888) 398-2277 today for an honest evaluation of your case, free of charge.