by Susan Perry
Although most Americans say they would prefer being treated with something other than an opioid medication to relieve pain after surgery, few of them talk to their health care provider about it, according to the results of a survey released Tuesday by the Mayo Clinic. The survey also found that many Americans have some stunning misconceptions about opioid addiction, including beliefs that the greatest danger is to people living in urban areas and that that they themselves are not personally at risk. “It’s important that the public understand that there’s a risk with taking these medications, and that it’s not just a risk for everyone else,” said Dr. Helen Gazelka, a pain specialist and chair of Mayo Clinic’s Opioid Stewardship Program, in an interview with MinnPost. “Anyone who takes an opioid can be at risk of an addiction.”
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Context: While nearly all Americans say they would choose an alternative to opioid pain relievers following surgery, few patients are talking to their health care provider about it, according to the Mayo Clinic National Health Checkup. This latest snapshot of Americans’ views on opioids comes at a time when opioid-related overdose deaths continue to climb. A record-breaking 72,000 Americans died from drug overdoses in 2017, according to preliminary estimates from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Most of those deaths were related to opioids. “While opioid pain relievers may be the best choice for a patient in the days following a surgical procedure, the risk of addiction is very real with long-term use,” says Halena Gazelka, M.D., chair of Mayo Clinic’s Opioid Stewardship Program. “At Mayo Clinic, we’re conducting research on opioid prescribing practices to ensure the best possible patient outcomes and experience with minimal exposure to opioids.” You can read more on Mayo Clinic News Network.
Contact: Heather Carlson