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Opioid Medications: Old Wine in New Bottles 

Opioid Medications: Old Wine in New Bottles
Opioid Medications: Old Wine in New Bottles

Timothy Atkinson

, John J. Coleman

, and Jeffrey Fudin

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date: 18 January 2021

This chapter describes the dilemma of today’s chronic pain patient in the face of well-intentioned regulatory efforts to reduce opioid-related mortality. From the beginning of recorded history, there has been interest in substances derived from opium poppy. As modern governments evolved, efforts were made to ensure the availability of opiates for medicinal use while restricting their nonmedical use. This chapter discusses US efforts to control opiates and the severe problem of opiate abuse in the United States that gave rise to these efforts. The United States was the first nation to establish specialized drug treatment centers, serving also as prison-hospitals, devoted solely to treating opiate addiction. Today’s liberal policies on the use of opioids to treat chronic pain appear to have unintentionally produced an epidemic of prescription opioid abuse. Meanwhile, legitimate concerns remain for treating chronic pain, despite the growing morbidity and mortality associated with such treatment.

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