American Opioid Epidemic: The Start

The American Opioid Epidemic was a major topic of discussion of the twenty-first century. Opioid pain medication was being prescribed left-and-right. Initially, prescribers were being coached to prescribe more pain medication as pain was being greatly undertreated in patients. This was demonstrated in James Campbell’s presidential address of the American Pain Society where he stated pain is the 5th vital sign (Waisbren, 2016). He urged the pharmacy profession to train doctors and nurses to treat pain by measuring it. Years later, there is a mixed consensus as to whether a physician tends to overprescribe opioids for chronic pain, or if physicians under-prescribe useful drugs for acute pain (Lichtblau, 1988). The Medical Board of Minnesota explicitly recommends that physicians adopt a multi-disciplinary approach to address all possible treatments to managing a patient’s pain (Waisbren, 2016). Setting achievable, functional goals can help remediate therapeutic approaches to pain management. Even though the fault ultimately falls on the prescriber, it is important to note that prescribers take the advice of their medical societies and boards (Waisbren, 2016).