Doctors Wrestle With Mixed Messages When Deciding Whether To Prescribe Painkillers

(By Shefali Luthra for Kaiser Health News)

Steve Diaz, an emergency medicine doctor at Augusta’s MaineGeneral Health, says he knows what patients want when they come to him in pain. Drugs. And preferably strong ones.

“The only thing they think of is, ‘Do I get a pill?’” he said.

And with abuse of prescription painkillers like OxyContin, methadone and Percocet soaring, the instinct, public health experts say, should be to say no. Or at least, not necessarily. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention put out a new guideline this spring, advising doctors to prescribe the highly addictive drugs, known as opioids, in smaller doses and only when truly needed. Read article here…..

Kaiser Health News is a nonprofit national health policy news service that is part of the nonpartisan Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation.

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