From Clinical Pain Advisor:
In an article recently published in Pain Practice, researchers at the University of Connecticut and Johns Hopkins University reviewed studies that examined the role of emergency department (ED) doctors in the US opioid epidemic.1
With the rapid increase in opioid prescriptions in recent decades, rates of misuse, diversion, overdose, and associated mortality have risen sharply. In 2013, opioids were the cause of one-third of overdose-related deaths in US adults age 25 to 64, surpassing motor vehicle accidents as the most common cause of injury-related death in this age group.2
Although ED physicians were once thought to under-treat pain — a phenomenon known as oligoanalgesia — they were recently found to be the third most common prescribers of opioid analgesics to young adults.3,4 Despite the significant contribution of such behavior to the opioid epidemic, the precise role of ED physicians had not yet been elucidated.