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Opioids and Feeling Better

11/16/2018

In thinking about the opioid crisis, it has occurred to me that many patients may tell their prescribers that these drugs have helped their pain when in fact they may want the drugs primarily to feel better or even to get high. This, of course, might be a major factor leading to addiction, but prescribers have no way of knowing whether the patient experiences the pain, much less what (if anything) the patient likes about taking the drugs.

Since prescribers ultimately hope that relieving pain will make the patient feel better, it also occurs to me that prescribers could or even should decide whether to prescribe drugs based on whether the patient feels better overall, regardless of whether they actually relieve the pain.

Of course, in my opinion, getting high or even feeling better with a drug may indicate increased risk of addiction, but the patient, not the prescriber, should decide whether to accept the risk after the prescriber has informed them of the risk, and use of the drugs by anyone involves some risk of addiction.