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Under-Treatment of Pain Exacerbated by Public Perceptions of Medicines and Safety
Date:1/29/2009

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Other results revealed: pain medication was perceived as dangerous (32 percent), and the largest perceived dangers were possibility of addiction (48 percent), abuse/misuse (21 percent), and overdose (12 percent). Regarding safety, 73 percent said 'yes,' pain medicines prescribed by a doctor were safe; however, more than half (55 percent) personally knew someone who misused or abused a prescription pain medication.

Public health researchers at the Utah Department of Health conducted the research to better understand perceptions about pain medicines to help decrease abuse and increase compliance. The information was then used to create the "Use Only As Directed" public service campaign to educate the people of Utah about safe use of prescribed medicines. The campaign began in April 2008.

"Many of these attitudes and perceptions lead to increased policing and regulations, making it harder for the patients who really need these medicines to get them," said Erin Johnson, MPH, Utah Department of Health, and lead author of the study. "Our goal is to educate consumers to increase compliant behavior. Our education campaign Use Only As Directed teaches that these medications are safe and helpful, but can be dangerous if misused."

In another study, researchers found that urine drug screens (UDS) is a helpful tool to decrease prescription pain medicine abuse and diversion, but may not be enough to increase compliance for patients on scheduled pain medicines. Instead, they saw more significant results when Indiana's electronic database, Inspect, was leveraged by doctors. Without such a tool, which reveals 'doctor-shopping,' patients can get multiple prescriptions from different physicians to sell illegally.

"Nearly a third of the patients were not taking their medicine as prescribed. Some chose not to reveal they were already taking an analgesic prescribed by another physician, som
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SOURCE American Academy of Pain Medicine
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