As the opioid epidemic continues to wage war on the lives of countless Americans, the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, or the CDC, has worked to provide regulatory suggestions that doctors can use for treating patients. Unfortunately, the efforts made in 2016 had a devastating effect on an untold amount of people that struggle with chronic pain. As doctors continue to perform the balancing act of treating these patients while making efforts to prevent addiction, new regulations have been made to ease the burden of people in genuine need of comprehensive pain management. Banyan’s addiction treatment centers are breaking down the most recent 2022 CDC opioid guidelines.
Consequences of the Original Opioid Epidemic Response
The 2016 regulations sought to intensely decrease the nationwide number of opioid prescriptions to gain control of the spiraling opioid epidemic ravaged our country. Unfortunately, these rigid regulations took a drastic toll on the lives of chronic pain patients that were in genuine need of care. Many of these individuals had their prescriptions aggressively tapered or flat-out discontinued. Pharmacies and private insurers curtailed coverage for opioid medications, while the strict guidelines led certain state officials to intensely taper patients who had come to rely on these drugs to get through their days.
What is especially tragic about this situation is the fact that vulnerable people ended up paying for the addictions, mismanagement, and crimes of people that they likely never even met before. It has led to instances of systemic bias in the medical field, and studies have found that patients who have records of long-term opioid prescriptions were less likely to be accepted into a primary care office as a new patient.1 People had a stigma attached to them, some without even realizing it. Even more concerning are the experiences of people that were left to struggle through their chronic pain without much consideration for their condition.
According to the CDC, a survey of over 3,000 patients found that 84% of them reported a decreased quality of life and more severe pain. Even more troubling is the fact that 42% of those patients considered taking their own life.2 This is the last thing that these restrictions set out to do, but it serves as a reminder that at the core of these issues are real people with real struggles, and they deserve to be seen and treated.
The New Opioid Guidelines
What is reassuring is that these new regulations highlight a clear intent to change for the better and consider the repercussions that the original recommendations lead to.
Some of the 2022 CDC opioid guidelines include:3
- Discussing the benefits and risks of this kind of treatment and how prescriptions may be discontinued if not adhered to.
- Only recommend these medications to chronic pain patients if the benefits outweigh known risks, such as addiction, overdose, and death. Doctors should also consider how the patient’s current pain affects the patient's current ability to successfully perform daily tasks.
- Prescribe the lowest dosage possible to individuals that have never taken opioids in the past. Practical alternative therapies should also be disclosed and discussed.
- Utilize therapies to try and safely and gradually lower dosages of patients that already take a higher than the recommended dose.
This epidemic is far from over, but hopefully, these regulations will take a step in the right direction. In the meantime, many Banyan Treatment Center locations offer detox programs that can help patients overcome the often-uncomfortable symptoms of opioid withdrawal.
Our Opioid Addiction Treatment Center Can Help
If you are in an opioid dependency, take comfort in the fact that our team of clinical professionals has your health and best interest in mind. Many Banyan addiction facilities offer opioid-specific treatment options that can comprehensively address the substance use disorder in question.
No matter the level of care that you require, we will be with you every step of the way. Remember that there is a light at the end of the tunnel, and we cannot wait to see how brightly you shine at the end of this journey.
To learn more about our opioid treatment options at our Banyan rehab locations, call us today at 888-280-4763.
- University of Michigan - Pain Patients Who Take Opioids Can’t Get in the Door at Half of Primary Care Clinics
- USA Today - Amid backlash, CDC's new opioid guidance aims to curb addiction and treat patients
- CDC - CDC Clinical Practice Guideline for Prescribing Opioids for Pain — United States, 2022