Commentary: Balancing Benefits and Risks: Opioid Pain Medication

Opioid pain relievers are the most widely misused and abused controlled prescription drugs and are involved in most unintentional poisoning deaths.[i] Such deaths have quadrupled since 1999, and by 2007 outnumbered those involving heroin and cocaine.[ii] In 2011, nearly 17,000 drug-poisoning deaths in the U.S. involved these medications.[iii]

These facts are not new, and have circulated widely throughout the media in recent months. Deaths of celebrities like Phillip Seymour Hoffman and others have brought new awareness to the dangers associated with prescribed potent extended-release and long-acting opioids. The overdose deaths may be all too intimately known to you as well, with some 34 million Americans 12 years of age or older reporting having used an opioid for non-medical usage at some time in their lives[iv] and 1 in 20 high school seniors reporting having abused OxyContin.[v]

Full story of balancing opioid pain medication at

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Will Savage

Quantum Units Continuing Education provides online CEU training's to licensed professional mental health therapists, counselors, social workers and nurses. Our blog provides updates in the field of news and research related to mental health and substance abuse treatment.