Opioid abuse is currently a public health emergency. Doctors in the United States have liberally prescribed opioids like Vicodin and OxyContin over the past twenty-plus years. To bring an end to this epidemic, creative solutions are required as soon as possible.
Cancer Treatment Centers of America has recently joined forces with Pacira Pharmaceuticals to reduce the incidence of physical dependence and addition in cancer patients across its network of five hospitals. Cancer, one of the most painful diseases plaguing mankind, often goes hand-in-hand with prescription opioid painkillers in an often-effective attempt to control such pain. However, many harmful side effects commonly fall closely in tow.
The name of the pair’s collaboration is the Opioid Risk Reduction Initiative. ORRI centers around responsible opioid use and common alternatives to opioid painkillers.
While most people don’t become addicted to opioids after long-term use, a hearty portion of people become addicted. Such addiction leads to physical dependence, causing users to engage in risky behaviors, such as using illicit street heroin, often adulterated with a smorgasbord of household supplies and more-harmful substanxces.
After surgeries, a whopping 94% of physicians report having frequently prescribed legal, regulated, seemingly-safe opioid painkillers to patients. A significant portion of these doctors shared feeling overwhelming pressure to provide patients with more opioids than necessary.
The Opioid Risk Initiative aims to educate cancer patients and their family members of three guidelines integral to curbing the United States’ opioid epidemic. The ORI – interchangeable with ORRI – plans to educate those affected by cancer what kinds of alternatives are available.
It also hopes to bring together the medical field in moving away from overprescribing. Lastly, the ORI hopes physicians rely on evidence to diagnose pain, not anecdotal reports.
Cancer Treatment Centers of America was founded several decades ago, now found across the nation.