An editorial from the Bluefield Daily Telegraph
BLUEFIELD, W.Va. — Common sense would certainly dictate that those individuals who have survived an opioid-related overdose should not be prescribed additional opioid medicines.
So much for common sense. A recent study published in the Annuals of Internal Medicine found that more than 90 percent of the 3,000 chronic pain patients included in the study who had survived an opioid related overdose between 2000 and 2012 kept receiving opioid medicines from their doctors. Seriously?
The results of the study, conducted at Boston Medical Center, are particularly alarming in light of America’s prescription drug epidemic and the growing number of overdose deaths being reported in the country, and right here in southern West Virginia and Southwest Virginia.
The study in question involved 2,848 commercially insured patients between 18 and 64 years old who had an opioid overdose, which wasn’t fatal, during long-term pain medication therapy for pain that wasn’t related to cancer between May 2000 and December 2012, according to the medical center’s results. During the study, researchers learned that opioid pain medication was given to 91 percent of the patients after an overdose, according to the published results. And almost all the patients continued to receive opioid prescriptions despite their near fatal overdoes.