Current State of Opioid Therapy and Abuse

Curr Pain Headache Rep. 2016 May;20(5):34. doi: 10.1007/s11916-016-0564-x.


Currently, there is growing tension between the twin challenges of opioid therapy for chronic pain and adverse consequences of abuse, leading to multiple complications including respiratory failure and death. The recent data from Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) have shown continued escalation of prescription opioid use with opioid overdose deaths topping all previous estimations. Numerous policy initiatives, advisories, and guidelines have been advanced through the years to control the opioid epidemic. The strategies to prevent opioid abuse and to maintain opioid therapy when medically necessary fall into primary and secondary prevention categories. The primary prevention category is extremely crucial, since it involves education of primary care providers and patients at the starting point of opioid therapy. The education of surgeons and other prescribers is as crucial as the education of primary care physicians.

Keywords: Abuse resistance opioids; Chronic opioid therapy; Opioid abuse; Opioid adverse consequences; Opioid deaths; Opioid overdoses; Prescription drug monitoring programs (PDMPs).

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Analgesics, Opioid / therapeutic use*
  • Child
  • Child Abuse / prevention & control
  • Chronic Pain / drug therapy*
  • Drug Overdose / drug therapy*
  • Humans
  • Opioid-Related Disorders / drug therapy*
  • Opioid-Related Disorders / prevention & control
  • Treatment Outcome


  • Analgesics, Opioid