Wellness Wednesday – Physicians Urged to Think Twice Before Prescribing Opioids

Since 2000, the rate of deaths from opioid overdoses has increased 200 percent, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). The CDC estimates that approximately 40 Americans die each day from opioid overdoses.

Recognizing this growing problem, the CDC recently released new guidelines urging physicians to avoid prescribing opioid painkillers for chronic pain, noting the risks of these drugs outweigh the benefits for most patients. These guidelines are aimed at primary care physicians, who prescribe nearly half of opioids, and do not apply to physicians treating patients with cancer or end-of-life care.

Instead of opioids, the CDC encourages physicians to prescribe other treatments like exercise, physical therapy and meditation. Studies have found that these methods often work better than opioids for the vast majority of people with chronic back pain.

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