Opioids as a first response to pain? Hospitals are rethinking that policy

Dr. Phillip Chang’s emergency room epiphany started with a wreck.

A patient admitted to the trauma unit of the University of Kentucky Albert B. Chandler Hospital was prescribed opioid painkillers for injuries he sustained in a nasty car crash. Within days, the patient returned for more pills, the first of many trips to multiple doctors.“This guy was not a substance abuser before,” Chang said. “Because of the pain medicine, he became one. We asked ourselves: Were we responsible for...

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