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Opioid Prescribing in Stigmatized and Special Populations 

Opioid Prescribing in Stigmatized and Special Populations
Opioid Prescribing in Stigmatized and Special Populations

Kelly K. Dineen

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date: 31 May 2020

There is no question that a lack of careful decision-making around opioid prescribing in the past contributed to the current opioid-related harms. Yet opioids—usually in combination with other treatments—are sometimes the only effective therapies for certain chronic pain patients, in whom the benefits of opioids outweigh the risks of a substance use disorder. This chapter examines special populations such as those with sickle cell disease or those experiencing pain in end-of-life care. Caring for chronic pain patients can be challenging, especially now that the use of opioids for long-term pain control has been called into question. This chapter draws attention to attitudes and biases that may contribute to decision-making errors on the part of providers who are trying to balance the benefits and harms of opioids when treating these particularly vulnerable groups.

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