According to the data collected by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services in the year 2019, approximately 10.1 million people ages 12 and above misused opioids and 9.7 million people within that same group abused prescription pain relief medications. The guidelines were initially put in place as a means to combat the growing opioid addiction epidemic. However, in the attempt to control the growing problem, the guidelines also received criticism from pain sufferers who were unable to gain appropriate access to opioid prescriptions when warranted. In response, the CDC has recently developed new guidelines regarding opioid dosage, enabling physicians more flexibility to prescribe opioids if they deem them necessary for a given patient but only after trying non-opioid treatments. The CDC goes on to suggest that those other effective non-opioid therapies for pain management include physical therapy, acupuncture, and prescription gabapentin. All in all, the increased use of multiple treatment modalities in pain management may pave the way for more holistic patient-centered care while continuing to reduce the rates of opioid misuse and addictions.
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