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A Piece of My Mind |

Rewriting the Script

Daniel Saal, MD, PhD1
[+] Author Affiliations
1Kaiser Permanente, Cupertino, California
JAMA. 2015;313(23):2323-2324. doi:10.1001/jama.2015.2653.
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The number of deaths in the United States due to prescription opioid use has exceeded 16000 per year. This is more than the number of cocaine and heroin overdose deaths combined.1,2 A significant complexity of this epidemic is that many opioid users do not recognize that they may have a problem with drug use because they “only take what my doctor gives me.” Nonetheless, many of these patients have a formal opioid use disorder.3 For many of these patients, there is a cycle of use and withdrawal that the patient perceives as pain, a cycle that is only relieved upon ingestion of opioids. Ultimately, the patient is in pain most of the time because he or she cannot obtain, ingest, or endure the needed doses of drug to stave off withdrawal. The patient may become focused solely on obtaining opioids, and he or she will go to any length to obtain their narcotics.

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The American Medical Association is accredited by the Accreditation Council for Continuing Medical Education to provide continuing medical education for physicians. The AMA designates this journal-based CME activity for a maximum of 1 AMA PRA Category 1 CreditTM per course. Physicians should claim only the credit commensurate with the extent of their participation in the activity. Physicians who complete the CME course and score at least 80% correct on the quiz are eligible for AMA PRA Category 1 CreditTM.
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