Survey Finds Many Primary Care Doctors Lack Understanding of Opioid Abuse

July 7th, 2015

Join Together (6/25/15): Many primary care physicians have misconceptions about opioid abuse, a new survey finds. Almost half of internists, family physicians and general practitioners incorrectly believe that abuse-deterrent pills are less addictive than standard opioid painkillers, according to the survey.

“Physicians and patients may mistakenly view these medicines as safe in one form and dangerous in another, but these products are addictive no matter how you take them,” study leader G. Caleb Alexander, MD, said in a news release. “If doctors and patients fail to understand this, they may believe opioids are safer than is actually the case and prescribe them more readily than they should.”

The survey also found that one-third of the physicians mistakenly thought most prescription drug abuse occurs by means other than swallowing pills as intended. According to several studies, the most common way in which prescription drugs are abused is by ingestion, followed by snorting and injection, the article notes.

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