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Opioids and addiction 

Opioids and addiction
Opioids and addiction

Cathy Stannard

, Michael Coupe

, and Anthony Pickering

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date: 23 June 2021

The utility of existing definitions of addiction, dependence, and tolerance when prescribing opioids for pain are debated. The syndrome of addiction is characterized by changes in the brain’s motivational and reward circuitry. The prevalence of addiction to prescribed opioids has been variably reported. Prediction of the risk of addiction to prescribed opioids is difficult. Patients in pain with a past or current history of substance misuse can be managed with opioid drugs if given appropriate support and monitoring. Collaboration between the patient and all health care professionals with whom they are involved underpins safe prescribing of opioids.

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