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One way to curb opioid epidemic: Prescribe them only when necessary

July 11, 2019 - 4:00 am

KYW Newsradio’s Medical Reports are sponsored by Independence Blue Cross. 

By Dr. Brian McDonough, Medical Editor

PHILADELPHIA (KYW Newsradio) — One of the best ways to curb the opioid epidemic is to have physicians prescribe them only when absolutely necessary. 

Numerous studies have shown that in many cases, over-the-counter products like acetaminophen and ibuprofen are more effective than narcotics.

But after years of intense marketing by pharmaceutical companies, there is a view in the public that these narcotics are better. 

Public education is essential to reduce the use, and now, orthopedic surgeons are working on ways to educate the public. 

Orthopedists write more than 6 million opioid prescriptions a year and now that they are cutting back and using alternatives, many patients are pushing back and complaining.  

The CDC and DEA are stressing the need to reduce the use unless absolutely necessary. It is the only way to get a handle on the flow of these narcotics on the street.