The addiction myth

Categories: In The Media.

In ‘The Addiction Myth: A Barrier to Relieving Suffering‘ Dr Fried discusses how the fear of addiction prevents people accessing effective pain relief in the late stages of serious illness.

He talks about the difference between physical dependence and drug addiction, and how only a very small minority of cancer patients develop an addiction to their opioid pain medication.

He says: “The risk of untreated pain and unrelieved suffering far outweighs the risk of causing addiction in a patient with a serious illness. This doesn’t mean, of course, that patients, families, and clinicians shouldn’t be concerned about the side effects of strong pain medication. But it does mean that we have to keep our priorities straight when we are faced with people who are suffering near or at the end of their lives.”

Robert Fried, a hospice and palliative medicine physician, started writing his blog ‘Suffering Is Not Required‘ earlier this month to share with patient and families (and other ‘non-professionals’) information about palliative care, hospice, serious illness, and end of life care.

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