New Mexico Department of Health, Drug Deaths, May 2009

Click to access ASA_MAT_Workgroup_DrugInducedDeathsWhitePaper.pdf

Chronic pain outpatients should be monitored for early signs of abuse including “doctor shopping’ and the use of multiple medications.

Risk factors for drug overdose deaths
• History of substance abuse
• Using alone
• Previous drug overdose
• Injection drug users
• Mixing drugs (including the use of illicit and prescription drugs together)
• Male
• Chronic pain patients treated with prescription opioids

Opioid Replacement Therapy involves the use of methadone or buprenorphine to reduce the cravings for opioids. Individuals with chronic pain may also be placed on methadone. As the use of methadone has expanded, so has its misuse resulting in abuse and overdose. Consequently buprenorphine is viewed as a safer alternative with less potential for abuse. Traditionally methadone has only been dispensed at federally licensed methadone clinics, but buprenorphine may be dispensed by any trained physician expanding the availability of opioid replacement therapy.

These people just don’t seem to get it… The “craving” is not for opioids, but for pain relief.

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