Researchers Find Significant Increase in Painkillers Prescribed to U.S. Adults Visiting Emergency Departments

Researchers at George Washington University found a dramatic increase in opioid prescriptions during emergency department visits over the last decade, while only a modest increase in pain-related complaints.

“This trend is especially concerning given dramatic increases in opioid-related overdoses and fatalities in recent years,” said Maryann Mazer-Amirshahi, M.D., co-author of the study and adjunct instructor of emergency medicine at the GW School of Medicine and Health Sciences (SMHS). “Using prescription opioids to treat acute painful conditions in emergency departments and hospitals might do more harm than good, as they can potentially lead to misuse and addiction. More needs to be done to monitor opioid prescriptions in emergency departments — having recommended standard approaches may be a good starting point.”

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