“Astonishing” Study: Almost Every Patient that Overdoses on Painkillers Continues to Get Refills from their Doctors

Getting help for overdoses on Painkillers is a challenge in our current health care system. According to new studies published in the Annals of Internal Medicine, people are classified as being in danger through problems such as substance abuse and mental illness. Ninety-one per cent of people who overdoses on painkillers/opioids, but were still alive, continued to use opioids, with seventy per cent receiving pain pills from the same doctor over 12 years. Two years after overdosing on opioids for the first time, the University of Pennsylvania study demonstrated that patients given high overdoses on painkillers are twice as likely to relapse.

Several articles from Annals have referred to the results as “surprising”. They have also stated the findings as a missed opportunity to ensure that adults who needed assistance were placed in care. This overdoses on painkillers episode presents patients and doctors with an opportunity to prepare themselves better, as patients and doctors have learned so much through this experience over the years.

Although the group found the situation more complicated than just doctors prescribing painkillers or patients using them, it favored blaming either the patients or the physician who prescribed them for them.

About Opioids

Doctors prescribe opioids for patients experiencing extreme pain after surgery or trauma, such as a broken bone, following their recovery from these procedures. The use of opioids for pain treatment extends beyond the treatment of cancer and other terminal illnesses to long-term pain disorders like back problems. Some prescription opioids are medication prescribed to so severely impaired people that they require a doctor to prescribe them. These include Oxycontin, Hydrocodone, and fentanyl. Also available are morphine, fentanyl, morphine derivatives derived from plants, and heroin derived from plants. Legal and illegal opioids have triggered the opioid epidemic, contributing to it in a big way.

Specifically, these drugs work by reducing body discomfort and the brain’s ability to perceive pain by stopping emotions from affecting the body which in long term leads to overdoses on painkillers. Researchers have theorized that they may even produce euphoric feelings, sometimes that occurs even after taking an over-the-counter medicine to treat pain. Additionally to these side effects, patients may also experience other side effects such as nausea, scratching, excessive drowsiness, constipation (sometimes severe), and dizziness. If you continue to grow cannabis for years on end, your chances of getting addicted, dependent, overdosing, and even death will increase dramatically. 

The Doctor’s Role

CDC will guide physicians’ safe disposition of opioid medications and warn them of prescriptions made that are not safe.

The Following Recommendations Should Be Followed by Doctors when They’re Treating Patients with Acute Pain: 

  • According to the Centre for Disease Control guidelines, it’s a good idea to prescribe as little as possible. Most patients do not take narcotics beyond three days after a procedure like knee replacements or implants.
  • There is no empirical evidence indicating that opioids will be beneficial in treating chronic pain, and they should not be prescribed frequently because they can lead to “overdoses on painkillers”. This medication is not an effective way to deal with chronic pain caused by cancer or cancer treatment. Opioid medication isn’t the only option. Nonpharmacological interventions can also be considered.
  • The expectations you have regarding your recovery must be realistic with your healthcare provider. Your doctor can determine your needs if you suffer from pain. Opioids should not be used as a primary treatment for chronic pain since they carry certain risks. We must work together with our doctors to look after our health and minimize side effects while enjoying life.
  • The opioid therapy agreement must be signed before you begin taking opioids for a long time. Some contracts specify how opioids are taken. Your doctor and pharmacy will only prescribe opioids for you. Whatever happens, until the new prescription is filled, you will be responsible for paying for your medications.
  • You may need to get a urine sample and pill count periodically. The appointments you have for physical therapy, behavioural medicine and any follow-up appointments are necessary to restore the health we examined you for on day two. The elimination of the opioids from treatment will result if this syllable pattern changes.
  • It would help if you underwent regular checkups when you are taking opioids. The second step in opioid therapy includes a follow-up consultation to assess your risks and benefits of taking it. The doctor will normally need to examine you yearly or twice a year to continue using opioids for the rest of your life. These visits can include the testing of the urinary bladder.
  • You have to learn how to handle withdrawal from opioids if you intend to stop using them and prevent overdosing on these drugs in the future. If you have been taking opioids for chronic pain and now decide to stop, you can taper off gradually and safely with the help of your doctor.

How to Handle It

In advance of first going under the knife, ask your doctor whether he or she can prescribe a type of pain medication, how long he/she can keep you on it for, and what steps you can take if you still experience pain.

You should seek medical advice from a pain management physician if you suspect that you might be suffering from chronic pain. Several doctors will assess your condition and provide you with information concerning the possible treatments available to you, such as non-prescription prescription pain relievers, physical therapy, acupuncture, and cold laser therapy if required. During the study’s assessment, the authors identified five obstacles and methods to avoid them that doctors face when taking patients with histories of overdoses on painkillers.

A problematic aspect of overdosing in doctors is that many don’t realize their patients receive too much prescription medication. overdoses on painkillers/opioids: overdoses on painkillers should be viewed as a public health problem that should be conveyed in the same way as rare infectious diseases should be revealed to the appropriate authority if they occur in our country. The journal noted that medical professionals could not intervene when their patients die from overdose until programs like these are implemented.

When Pharmacists Aren’t Aware that Something Has Happened to A Patient’s Prescription, They Cannot Decide Whether to Reduce or Cancel the Prescription.

  • Patients reported to the hospital ER may be informed by direct communication between the hospital ER and opioid prescribers. Nearly every state has some form of prescription control system that could be used to improve communications in the event of a natural disaster. There may be limitations to this approach, the authors argue, depending on how confidential disclosure of drug abuse disorders is; having said that, the authors wrote that sharing such information may be impossible.
  • Doctors of primary care who are not trained in addiction or pain management typically do not realize patients’ requests for prescriptions of drugs they understand to be excessive and dangerous because they do not have any pain management expertise. 

Option 1: Education on overdoses on painkillers and pain management should be integrated into the curricula of medical schools and mandatory for physicians who prescribe opioids. Additionally, the paper said, “Virtually all addiction and pain practitioners do not attain adequate training and receive few services nor do they receive high enough support to handle either chronic pain or addiction.” It continued, “When problems overlap, it becomes more problematic.”

In a bid to encourage the use of commonly prescribed pain-relieving medications by medical practitioners, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) are proposing complete and revised guidelines for the prescription of opioids to men and women. When beginning opioids for chronic pain, providers are advised to inquire about his or her history with controlled substances. According to an article in the NEJM Journal Watch, urine monitoring should occur during and after hormone treatment.

Doctors Will Prescribe the Medication Even if They Don’t Want their Patients in Pain or Unable to Take Care of their Children Since Those are the Results They Want.

It turns out that pre-overdose doses are higher in most patients, resulting from lack of reassurance in the weeks preceding overdoses on painkillers, says the research.

Solution. There should be an informational campaign focusing on the risks associated with long-term opioid therapy. Two options should be explored, including both short-term options and long-term options.

A position paper issued last year by doctors attending a National Institutes of Health workshop addressed opioid use in chronic pain patients recommended that “the available evidence that demonstrated the appropriate use of opioids over the long run in the treatment of chronic pain is lacking.”
The National Institutes of Health organized a seminar on the topic and speakers who discussed ways of addressing the recovery issues without using pharmaceutical medications. The event was focused on physical therapy, cognitive behavioral counselling. The study will also examine complementary medicine and psychological therapy from different angles. In deciding what the best course of treatment is, the doctor uses input from the patient’s medical history, his or her level of discomfort, along with their symptom profile, as well as the patient’s risk profile.

The proposed CDC guidelines recommend discussing opioid therapy risks and benefits every three months. Some doctors see addiction in action, but they can still fail to break the cycle by prescribing painkillers indefinitely. As a result, it is becoming increasingly common for patients to self-medicate with heroin leading to overdoses on painkillers.

To alleviate this current situation, it is necessary to improve patient monitoring to deliver more effective treatment. In a recent Annals article, the authors stated that patients, their families, and caregivers should receive realistic assessments of the risks associated with various treatment options so that they can make better decisions.

It would be helpful if doctors and their patients could communicate online, via other channels, or during their regular appointment times, for example, to resolve issues with the doctors.

Solution. Development of programs to help understand drug abuse and its consequences are among the top priorities, such as developing programs that explain how the effects of drug abuse manifest themselves in terms of problems with abscesses, heart attacks, or overdoses.

Studies have shown that hospitalized patients are more likely to recover than those who receive home care. As a result of our modelling approach, we have transformed a potential disaster into an opportunity for hopeful action, according to a recent Annals editorial. Contact us today 615-490-9376 for more guidance about overdoses on painkillers and help thereafter


1. Larochelle M., et al. Opioid Prescribing After Nonfatal Overdose and Association With Repeated Overdose. (2015, Dec. 29). Annals of Internal Medicine. Retrieved Jan. 3, 2016, from http://annals.org/article.aspx?articleid=2479117

2. Editorial. Annals of Internal Medicine. (2015, Dec. 29). Follow-up to Nonfatal Opioid Overdoses: More of the Same or an Opportunity for Change?

3. Young, Kelly. CDC Proposes Updated Guidelines for Opioid Prescribing. (2015, Dec. 18). New England Journal of Medicine. Retrieved Jan. 3, 216, from http://www.jwatch.org/fw110969/2015/12/16/cdc-proposes-updated-guidelines-opioid-prescribing

4. Reuben, D. et al. National Institutes of Health Pathways to Prevention Workshop: The Role of Opioids in the Treatment of Chronic Pain. (2015 Feb. 17). Retrieved Jan. 3, 2016, from http://annals.org/article.aspx?articleid=2089371