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From Becker’s Orthopedic, Spine & Pain Management Review: Patients being treated for chronic pain stray from their opioid regimen, voluntarily or involuntarily, for several reasons. In some cases, patients want to remain adherent to their regimen but become addicted to the opioids accidentally. “Sometimes patients get in trouble and they can’t help abusing,” says Harry Leider, MD, an internist and chief medical officer for Ameritox, a company focused on medication monitoring solutions. “At that point, drug monitoring programs are really about patient safety and education.”
Other patients choose not to adhere to their treatment pathway, either by taking too many on purpose or taking too few and illegally selling or giving away the surplus. There are several implications of inappropriate opioid use that weigh heavily on patients and society. Dr. Leider discusses how physicians can detect diversion and help keep opioid users safe.