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Opiod Addiction: What Healthcare Providers Really Think

To curb the crisis, providers need better education in effective pain management.

With an estimated 2 million Americans in the U.S. addicted to opioids, the question of whether opioids are over-prescribed is a hot topic in the news. According to an article by Ruth Tarantine, DNP, RN, the third largest opioid-prescribing group for individuals with Medicare Part D are advanced practice registered nurses (APRNs) and nurse practitioners.1

Back in August 2016, the Surgeon General issued a letter to physicians urging them to take part in combating the opioid epidemic. On the Surgeon General's website, providers were encouraged to help solve the opioid addiction problem:

"Our nation faces an opioid crisis. Health care providers are uniquely positioned to help communities and their patients #TurnTheTide on the opioid epidemic. Providers can be the solution. Join the movement. Sign the pledge."

To gauge how clinicians felt about the Surgeon General's recommendations to fight the opioid epidemic, the Physician-Patient Alliance for Health & Safety (PPAHS) conducted a survey to examine perceptions about the Surgeon General's appeal. The responses to that survey are highlighted in our infographic, and they indicate that most clinicians believe providers should "lead the fight" as change agents in this crisis.

That being said, there was also  a strong call from respondents for additional tools to combat the problem, such as better education on safely and effectively treating their patients' pain and better screening of patients at risk for opioid-use disorder.

There is no question that opioid-related harm is a universal patient safety concern.  It's a complex problem that will require cooperation between doctors, nurses, governmental organizations and local communities.


1.Taratine, R. "How Nursing is Helping to Combat the Opioid Epidemic." The Huffington Post. June 23, 2016.


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