Recent media coverage of narcotic medications and addiction has led to serious misconceptions about the role of such medications in treating chronic pain. The media's sensationalism of this issue has tragic repercussions for the more than 70 million Americans who suffer with chronic pain. The National Pain Foundation is concerned that such coverage, which reinforces misperceptions about narcotics, may lead to unnecessary withholding of these highly effective medications from patients who can benefit from narcotic treatment. The sensationalism also leads to reluctance on the part of patients to take such medications.
Confusion and misinformation surrounding physical dependence, tolerance, and addiction contribute to the already significant problem of the undertreatment of pain. Use of narcotics in the treatment of chronic pain rarely results in addiction. There are many options to treat chronic pain, ranging from medications, physical therapy, complementary therapies, psychological therapies, injections, and surgery. Narcotics are an effective option for treating pain for many individuals and can play a crucial role in pain control.
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