Dear Orthopedic Surgeons,
How many news reports, stories of overdoses do you need before you stop prescribing one and two months of highly addictive opiates? Do you orthos live under a rock? Have you seen the news? Eighty percent of the global opioid supply is consumed in the United States. That’s prescribed medication.
Stories after stories that are all the same theme. “My son had surgery, became addicted and died from overdose.” Most everyone has heard. Why haven’t you? Is no one speaking about this at your conferences? The oral surgeons have caught on. The primary care doctors have, too. Why haven’t you guys?
I’ve talked to no fewer than 6 people who in the past 3 months have had knee and/or rotator cuff surgery and all of them have come home with so many pill prescriptions, they could have set up a pill mill. Most have mentioned 60 days of opiates. This is even after they said they told their surgeon they had plenty.
It’s not up to you to ‘cure’ pain but to set expectations. How about having a conversation with your patients on alternatives? At the very least no one should have more than three days of opiates yet you still hyper prescribe.
Short term means no more than three days.
With a 10-day supply of opioids, 1 in 5 become long-term users
Seven million will become addicted this year due to hyper-prescribing opiates. So as they go in and out of rehab and detox they’ll have great knees! What’s more important that that?
Yeah I’m mad. And I’m not the only one.
All of us who’ve lost a child to overdose, and in my case a suicide, lost their child due to opiate addiction fueled by big pharma and over prescribing–the large majority of whom became addicted after a surgery. Or someone else’s surgery and leftover medication.
I can understand that early on you didn’t know.
I can understand that you were encouraged to treat pain as the “fifth vital sign.”
But that has changed and it was not recent! You’ve changed your surgical techniques. Why can’t you change your prescribing habits?
“When patients get an initial opioid prescription that’s just a one-day supply, they have about a 6% chance of being on opioids for a year or longer. But if that first prescription is for a 3-day supply, the probability of long-term use starts inching up. With an initial 5-day supply, the chance jumps to about 10%. With a 6-day supply, the chance hits 12%. With 10-day’s worth, the odds of still being on opioids a year later hits roughly 20%. And the friends I spoke of had 60 days!”*
If you have stopped prescribing 30-day supplies of opiates
If you are an orthopedic surgeon and you have stopped giving patients marathon prescriptions following orthopedic surgery, post here and tell us about it. Thank you if you have curbed your prescribing habits due to this epidemic.
Help us understand why so many of your colleagues have not caught on. Because I don’t get it. And how can we reach them because it doesn’t look like they listen to the news. Can we put signs on the golf courses? Give us some ideas. Please.
A mom who has seen too much death from this epidemic
Patients -If you have gotten a prescription of 30 days or more of opiates following orthopedic surgery, post here and tell us about it! Hell, if you’ve gotten them from any kind of doctor, leave a comment!
Lecture your doctor when they give you this many. If they hear it from enough patients, they’ll stop. Be proactive.