The Opioid Epidemic: Resources and Insights

Opioids play an important role in pain management—both in the acute and the chronic settings. Unfortunately, the dramatic increase in opioid use over the past few decades has resulted in an opioid-related epidemic of addiction and death. These expert resources, including data analysis that shines a light on trends in opioid claims, can help address this important issue.


The Opioid Epidemic: A Closed Claims Analysis [Infographic]
Prescribing opioid medications has underlying vulnerabilities that can put patients at risk of injury and can increase liability for doctors. This infographic outlines the most common patient safety risks.

San Diego Death Diaries
The San Diego Medical Examiner’s Office analyzed a 12-month PDMP report based on the date of death of 254 people who died accidentally from prescription overdose. These PDMP reports read as “death diaries,” chronicling stories of multiple prescribers, drug interactions, escalating dosages, and doctor shopping.


Analysis of Medication-Related Claims from The Doctors Company
A review of 1,770 claims that closed between 2007 and 2015 in which patient harm involved medication factors. In 272 of these claims (15 percent), the medications were narcotic analgesics.

Prescribing Opioids Safely: How to Have Difficult Patient Conversations
Drug overdose is the leading cause of accidental death in the U.S., and opioids account for over 60 percent of those deaths. Building a strong doctor-patient rapport can help facilitate tough conversations with patients about opioid prescriptions and reduce risks that could lead to malpractice suits.


Legislating the Opioid Epidemic
When the opioid epidemic hit the news—not just in scientific journals but in the popular media as well—it spurred Congress and state legislatures to offer public healthcare policy solutions

Complimentary CME Course: Prescribing Opioids Safely
This course is designed for physicians with practices that do not routinely treat patients for pain management. It presents the latest guidelines from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), additional information for clinical applications, and case studies pulled from malpractice claims.

CDC Pocket Guide: Tapering Opioids for Chronic Pain
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has prepared a free pocket guide to help physicians considering reducing or eliminating opioid dosage to chronic pain patients. The guide aims to help physicians understand how and when to begin the tapering process and minimize withdrawal symptoms while maximizing non-opioid pain treatments.

The guidelines suggested here are not rules, do not constitute legal advice, and do not ensure a successful outcome. The ultimate decision regarding the appropriateness of any treatment must be made by each healthcare provider in light of all circumstances prevailing in the individual situation and in accordance with the laws of the jurisdiction in which the care is rendered.


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