Features  |   September 2017
The Perioperative Opioid Pathway
Article Information
Pain Medicine / Pharmacology / Features
Features   |   September 2017
The Perioperative Opioid Pathway
ASA Monitor 09 2017, Vol.81, 12-14.
ASA Monitor 09 2017, Vol.81, 12-14.
The latest numbers coming in project more than 60,000 deaths related to drug overdose in 2016.1  Fentanyl-associated deaths have skyrocketed in the last four years and should be a concern to our specialty given the ubiquity of this drug in our practice.
Although a subset of these deaths stem from post-surgical opioid prescribing, every clinician involved in pain manage-ment has a responsibility for curbing the American opioid epidemic. The interplay among patients, anesthesiologists, surgeons, pharmacists, nurses and other perioperative providers should have a common goal to provide functional recovery while reducing adverse effects and harm to their community. Surgery itself is a risk factor for chronic opioid use; therefore, as perioperative consultants, we need to understand the problem, prevent the preventable issues and come up with systems solutions to reduce risk.2 
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