If you think doctors are turning a blind eye to the growing problem of opioid abuse, think again.
In a Business Wire story, a survey of 501 physicians conducted by InCrowd and McLean Hospital concluded that the opioid epidemic causes more than 100 overdoses daily in America and fewer than 1 in 5 treating physicians approve of the government’s handling of the crisis.
“The doctors we surveyed showed incredible passion for this topic—they had significant insight into fixing it,” says Danielle Schroth, InCrowd’s Director of Crowd Development, in the article. “They’re frustrated that they can’t do enough for their patients’ well-being.”
The survey found doctors were well aware of the role they played in helping to escalate the opioid epidemic. “Part of what got us into this current crisis was physician behavior, well-meaning physician behaviors,” says Rocco Iannucci, MD, of McLean Hospital’s Division of Alcohol and Drug Treatment, in the article. “The survey uncovered physicians’ pressures towards treating pain and addiction.”
- Nearly half (47%) disapprove of the federal government’s response.
- Forty-four percent called for stricter regulations to curb opioid abuse, while 18% wanted to discontinue opioid prescriptions all together.
- Ten percent wanted to end patient satisfaction surveys, which put pressure on physicians for positive patient ratings.
- Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDS) are the most preferred treatment alternative (68%), followed by lifestyle changes.
The article concluded that more education on the symptoms and treatment of opioid abuse is needed.
“There is limited education historically on treatment of pain,” says Dr. Iannucci. “So, doctors may only be familiar with a few things—perhaps Tylenol, ibuprofen, and then they move to opioids. More systematic education of medical students and residents in all specialties, and not just in pain specialization, is really important.”