Unwitting Enablers: Annals of Surgery Looks at Role Surgeons Play in the Opioid Crisis

March 29, 2017 | Strategic Insights for Health System


​The April 2017 issue of the Annals of Surgery takes an in-depth look at the opioid crisis, and the role surgeons are playing in it. "Unless one has been 'living under a rock' for the last few years," writes the journal's editor in chief, providers are well aware of the current crisis regarding the use and misuse of opioids. Because of their role in prescribing opioids, the author wrote, "it is clear that we as surgeons are contributing to this process." The author of a commentary calling for the adoption of electronic prescriptions for opioids warned, "We are running out of ways to emphasize how dire the opioid overdose crisis has become." Deaths from drug overdose exceeded 50,000 in 2015, he said, and 30,000 of those involved opioids, making surgeons "unwitting enablers of addiction, abuse, and overdosage." Electronic prescriptions, he argued, could help give prescribers more information before they opt to treat with opioids.

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