Drug abuse co-occurring with chronic pain


Physicians are obligated to relieve chronic pain. What should the professional do when chronic pain is present, but substance abuse is a concealed co-occurring disorder? When addicted patients experience any type of pain, the goal is to treat the pain; the addiction treatment in not the priority while patient is in pain. If drug abuse is unknown in the patient it’s the nurse’s job to suspect abuse when normal doses of analgesics do not relive the patient’s pain. If the nurse can determine the drug that is being abused and the amount being used, it is best to avoid exposing that drug to the patient and have an alternative drug.


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