Reality and responsibility: A commentary on the treatment of pain and suffering in a drug-using society

Steven D. Passik, PhD, Howard Heit, MD, FACP, FASAM, Kenneth L. Kirsh, PhD


While opioids are a necessary part of the armamentarium of pain management, there has been a growing trend toward prescription drug abuse and diversion in our society. Meeting the goal of treating pain while not contributing to drug abuse and diversion requires vigilance and education. Physicians and patients have been singled out as the main players in the societal problem of diversion of prescription drugs. In fact, the problem can only be overcome when not only physicians and patients but also healthcare practitioners, third-party payers, law enforcement agencies and regulators, the pharmaceutical industry, and the media finally work together to prevent it, instead of fingering any one party for the blame.


opioids, pain management, prescription drug abuse, prescription drug diversion

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