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Opioids: When, How, and How Much?

Opioid Use, Overuse, and Abuse
Today, 1:15 pm
Room 290

Samantha Anne, MD

Nearly 40,000 people die from opioid overdose in the United States each year. It’s a statistic that is creating shockwaves across the entire medical field, and rightfully so. But what is the relationship between opioids and otolaryngology?

This is a question that Samantha Anne, MD, AAO-HNS Board of Governors (BOG) Secretary, plans to tackle in a BOG-sponsored session she is moderating today, “Opioid Use, Overuse, and Abuse.”

“We as surgeons are definitely using these opioids,” said Dr. Anne, of the Cleveland Clinic Foundation. “And we don’t have a current guideline or consensus statement that tells us the common practice for prescribing.”

Surgeons, said Dr. Anne, are the group of medical professionals that have the second highest rate of opioid prescriptions. (The first is pain medicine specialists.)

“That’s where it becomes such a crucial issue to discuss for ENTs,” she said. “Sometimes, the anesthesia they’re doing is not enough, and we need to do narcotics. But sometimes, this can cause addictive behavior. We just need to be careful, but right now we don’t have any guidelines on how to do it, when to do it, and how much to do it.”

Panelists include a physician who specializes in addiction medicine, an otolaryngologist who has personally lost someone to opioids, and a head and neck surgeon who is working specifically with prescription patterns.

Dr. Anne said the panelists will explore what trends they are seeing in terms of opioids in their practices, guidelines on how to address addiction once a suspicion is introduced, and possible alternatives to opioids.