OxyContin (Oxycodone) Use and Abuse

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From time to time, health care providers, the chemical dependency treatment community, and law enforcement. But efforts are under way. The Pain & Policies Study Group at the University of Wisconsin Paul P. Carbone Comprehensive Cancer Center issues annual progress report cards evaluating states’ policies regarding the use of opioid analgesics in pain management. The concern is that cancer pain is often undertreated, and opioids like OxyContin are essential.

Evaluation scores reflect a balanced approach in which law enforcement practices to prevent diversion and abuse do not interfere with the medical use of opioid analgesics in treating pain. In the group’s 2006 report, it was noted that policies adopted in the last decade by 39 state legislatures and medical boards addressed doctors’ concerns about being investigated for prescribing opioid pain medications.

The report concludes: “Despite a growing effort by policymakers and regulators, the fear of regulatory scrutiny remains a significant impediment to pain relief and will take years of further policy development, communication, and education to overcome.”