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Opioid misuse: breaking the prescription addiction cycle

Help patients understand how opioids are making their pain worse, not better
Addicted to pain killers

Help patients understand how opioids are making their pain worse, not better

  • The drugs’ ineffectiveness and potential to cause harm is ‘as much a concern as misuse’
  • There was a 60% increase in prescriptions for opioid drugs in England and Wales in the ten years to 2018
  • Nurses are ideally placed to explain that opioid use should be time limited, and suggest alternatives for chronic pain management

Think of a drug addict and what image crosses your mind? Is it someone shooting up in a dark alleyway with an illegal drug obtained from a dealer? Or is it an older woman, on the waiting list for an operation and started on an opioid drug to deal with the pain until she is admitted?

Both scenarios are possible, of course, but increasingly nurses are encountering the second

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