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An Opioid Success Story: Efforts to Minimize Painkillers After Surgery Appear to Be Working

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The opioid epidemic has been wreaking misery and death across the nation for years. In 2017 alone, opioid overdoses killed more than 47,000 people – 10,000 more deaths than were caused by traffic accidents that year.
For many people who abuse opioids, the problem begins with opioid prescriptions from their doctors for pain relief. Government data show that 21%-29% of patients who are prescribed opioids go on to misuse them, and 8% to 12% develop an opioid abuse disorder. From 2016-2017, 800,000 people used heroin for the first time, according to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, with 80% starting with prescription drugs.
Many hospitals have begun to take steps to minimize the amount of opioids prescribed after surgery by managing pain through alternative methods. Research suggests that these programs can reduce the need for opioids after surgery and can reduce both post-surgical complications and the average length of hospital stay….

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