I’m in recovery and my doctor offered to prescribe me opioids

Health care providers do not often discuss the addictive qualities of opioids or inform patients of alternative treatment options.

By Fred Muench

Nothing my doctor did was out of malice. He was simply doing what most dentists and physicians do. They want to make sure their patients are satisfied, and opioids are an easy fix to a patient feeling discomfort.

Many don’t know the recent research showing that even short-term opioid prescriptions increase the risk for dependence later on, nor the cascade of emotions that come from being offered a prescription when you are in recovery.

There was no pre-interview about my history or risk factors for addiction, no discussion of the addiction potential of opioids, and no “stepped” approach to prescribing non-opioid alternatives as a first line of treatment. Unfortunately, physicians have not been trained to say, “You will feel some pain, and that is okay. Come back if you need something stronger.”

The Problem

For someone in recovery, an opioid prescription can create risk for relapse, even when prescribed for a legitimate medical purpose. A health care provider’s offer of a prescription for opioids can be a difficult conversation. The lack of training on both addiction and pain management may lead the health care provider to overlook the risk of prescribing opioids to an individual in recovery.

The Solution

Improve provider training in addiction and increase access to non-opioid medications for pain management.

Take Action

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Congress passed the NOPAIN Act!

Send a letter to your members of Congress thanking them for passing the Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2023, which included important addiction-related provisions, including the Non-Opioid Prevent Addiction in the Nation (NOPAIN) Act. The NOPAIN Act improves reimbursement for non-opioid pain medications.