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In the accompanying Commentary, researchers offer recommendations to improve current pain management in primary care while simultaneously decreasing diversion, abuse and overdoses of opioid medication. These recommendations include:

       Comprehensive and contemporary training for pain management care providers -including physicians, nurses, dentists and pharmacists — covering the latest research advances on pain and addiction and new drug treatment options.

       Supporting the American Pain Society guidelines, which include plans to develop and roll out screening procedures for those at risk for abuse and dependence (e.g. adolescent or young adults, individual or family history of substance abuse history.)

       Increasing public awareness and responsibility of the addiction risks, to curb sharing or theft of the medication within families.

The research was conducted by The National Institute on Drug Abuse, of the National Institutes of Health, while Dr. McLellan was serving as Deputy Director of the United States Office of National Drug Control Policy.  Penn Medicine researchers are already looking into possible solutions to address these issues. Dr. McLellan leads the new Center for Substance Abuse Solutions that will translate addiction research into evidence-based practical applications to be used locally, nationally and globally.

Source:  University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine (2011, April 6). Opioids now most prescribed class of medications in America. ScienceDaily.

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