CDC Releases Opioid Guidelines for Doctors

Posted at 12:37 PM, Mar 16, 2016
and last updated 2016-03-16 18:21:50-04

Ashwaubenon, Wi -- It's no secret that heroin is a problem in northeast Wisconsin and nationally. Often that addiction starts with the use of prescription opiates.

As that problem grows nationally the centers for disease control has released guidelines for doctors with the goal to treat pain while minimizing addiction

Locally, Wisconsin has its own guidelines and bills dealing with opiate abuse.

Representative John Nygren helping to push the bills along.

Doctors and lawmakers working together to end Wisconsin’s struggle with heroin and opioid abuse.

While prescription opioids can be part of pain management, they have serious risks.  The new guideline aims to improve the safety of prescribing and curtail the harms associated with opioid use, including opioid use disorder and overdose. The guideline also focuses on increasing the use of other effective treatments available for chronic pain, such as nonopioid medications or non-pharmacologic therapies.

By using the guideline, primary care physicians can determine if and when to start opioids to treat chronic pain. The guideline also offers specific information on medication selection, dosage, duration, and when and how to reassess progress and discontinue medication if needed. Using this guideline, providers and patients can work together to assess the benefits and risks of opioid use.

Among the 12 recommendations in the guideline, three principles are key to improving patient care:

        Non-opioid therapy is preferred for chronic pain outside of active cancer, palliative, and end-of-life care.

        When opioids are used, the lowest possible effective dosage should be prescribed to reduce risks of opioid use disorder and overdose.

        Providers should always exercise caution when prescribing opioids and monitor all patients closely.

All 12 guidelines can be found here: