Only One Quarter of Opioid Prescribers are Confident of Their Skills, According to a Survey

Read a Pain Reporter interview with Dr. Dan Alford, director of SCOPE.

A new survey conducted by the Safe and Competent Opioid Prescribing Education (SCOPE) program at Boston University School of Medicine (BUSM) reports that only 25% of physicians who prescribe opioids say they are very confident in their ability to safely manage their patients to whom they prescribe. The survey also found that some 65% of prescribing clinicians have also taken proactive steps to improve their opioid prescribing practices, including the implementation of systems to support the safe initiation, monitoring, and discontinuing of chronic opioid therapy.

But the survey also found that of those respondents who have not taken proactive measures, more than 60% said it was not a priority given limited time. Daniel Alford, MD, MPH, and director of the SCOPE program commented: “It’s troubling that so many physicians say implementing safe opioid prescribing systems is not a priority, even though this is an acute issue. We’ve created a situation where some physicians are comfortable not doing anything about it. That’s why education is so critical.” Dr. Alford further observed that patients with chronic pain generally don’t appreciate the risks attending opioid therapy, and are frequently in denial over the extent to which these risks apply to themselves.

To read about geographic inconsistencies in prescribing, click here.

Read a news release, with link to the survey results, here.



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