The problem of prescription pain killer abuse is bigger than heroin, cocaine, and methamphetamine combined3. We prescribe the drugs that are getting into the wrong hands. We are part of the problem, and we have to be a part of the solution.
We cannot do this alone. During times of change, professional relationships are very important. We need to meet with our colleagues to share “best practices.” We need to develop new standards of care for the treatment of pain.
We also need to develop relationships with professionals that many of us haven’t worked closely with in the past: substance abuse experts, mental health counselors, peer to peer facilitators, and physical therapists. We will face challenges in payment for services, and the demands on our time. We cannot let the perceived lack of resources keep us from doing the right thing.
There are evolving national guidelines for the treatment of CCNP. Many medical communities are meeting to discuss this problem and create their own guidelines. We may need to learn new skills: How to compassionately say “no,” motivational interviewing, how to successfully taper medications. Most providers feel a sense of relief when they know there are guidelines, and tools, they can rely upon to assist them in having those difficult conversations with their patients.
We must change the way we manage pain. We hope this web site and the resources it contain will help you in that endeavor.