Twenty some odd years ago, the American Academy of Pain Medicine and the American Pain Society, two large pain-related professional organizations, teamed up to agree upon what it means to have both chronic pain and be addicted to opioid pain medications at the same time.1 They did it because addiction to opioid medications when patients are prescribed them for legitimate health reasons seems different than addiction to other substances like alcohol, cannabis, cocaine, or even illegally obtained opioid medications when not used for pain. The difference involves the phenomena of tolerance, physical dependence, and withdrawal, which in part serve as criteria for the diagnosis of addiction when it comes to all other substances.

Opioid, or narcotic, pain medications are beneficial in a number of ways. Terminal cancer patients, for instance, benefit from their use. The short-term use of opioid pain medications is beneficial, especially while recovering from an acute injury or a surgery. However, the long-term use of opioid medications for chronic, noncancer, pain remains controversial. While a number of issues contribute to this controversy, the main reason for the controversy is addiction. Opioid pain medications are addictive.

This controversy makes opioid pain medications a highly sensitive issue for patients who take them.

Published in Complications

This website is certified by Health On the Net Foundation. Click to verify. This site complies with the HONcode standard for trustworthy health information:
verify here.

Search only trustworthy HONcode health websites:

 

© 2017 Institute for Chronic Pain. All rights reserved.

To improve your experience on our website, we use cookies to examine site traffic and enable additional capabilities such as social media interaction and marketing.


Warning: mysqli::stat(): Couldn't fetch mysqli in /home/inst1tut3/public_html/libraries/joomla/database/driver/mysqli.php on line 209

Warning: mysqli_close(): Couldn't fetch mysqli in /home/inst1tut3/public_html/libraries/joomla/database/driver/mysqli.php on line 216