ASRA Pain Medicine Update

Editor’s Corner: Combating the Opioid Crisis

Nov 1, 2022, 05:43 AM by Vivian Ip, MBChB, MRCP, FRCA

Cite as: Ip V. Editor's message: combating the opioid crisis. ASRA Pain Medicine News 2022;47. https://doi.org/10.52211/asra110122.041 


It is November already, and the 21st Annual Pain Medicine Meeting, with the theme of “Making Connections,” is just round the corner. Be sure to register and be part of the community to learn and network. The theme of this edition of the ASRA Pain Medicine News is “Combating the Opioid Crisis.” Working at an institution that is part of a major transplant center, I couldn't help but notice how the increased caseload within the transplant service coincided with the opioid crisis around 2017-2019, and now there is another wave from the secondary psychological impact of the COVID-19 pandemic. All physicians have a responsibility to combat the opioid crisis but even more so for pain physicians, both acute and chronic pain. Recently, one noticeable change I’ve seen, from personal experience and talking to friends and colleagues nationally and internationally, is that there is an increasing number of acute on chronic pain patients that the acute pain service team takes care of. Therefore, collaboration between the acute and chronic pain physicians is essential. In this edition of ASRA Pain Medicine News, we have a much-needed article addressing how the chronic pain team can successfully collaborate with their acute pain colleagues to provide the best care for our patients to improve overall pain management. Another important and overdue article along the same concept is how to increase female representation in chronic pain medicine. It is important to embrace diversity and appreciate the value it brings; this article outlines strategies to put it into practice.


In this edition are different approaches and innovative ideas to help combat the opioid crisis, especially in educating the public and creating an opportunity to start a conversation. 


Also in this edition are different approaches and innovative ideas to help combat the opioid crisis, especially in educating the public and creating an opportunity to start a conversation. We have an interview with Dr. Orebaugh to gain deeper insight into his hobby as a novelist where he has written about the opioid epidemic. In contrast, we have a piece on a card game that targets educating young people, giving them the facts, and enabling them to be aware of the use and consequences of opioid misuse. Check out the Literature Review as well, which is hand-picked and summarized by our associate editor for special projects, Dr. Anthony Machi. One such article is regarding policy change in the management of opioid use disorder to address the opioid overdose crisis.

To stay current, the article summarizing the latest international consensus meeting on venous thromboembolism prevention in orthopedic surgery by Drs. Cozowicz and Memtsoudis is a must-read. More than 100 societies, including ASRA Pain Medicine, were involved in this project to reach a consensus in the prevention and perioperative management of venous thromboembolism.

Our reader favorite, POCUS Spotlight, is on hemodynamics assessment in non-cardiac surgery, which includes assessment of venous congestion. Another article with cardiac flavor is the stellate ganglion blocks for refractory ventricular electrical storm. This is part of our all-time favorite “How I Do It” series. You can find other “How I Do It” articles on the ASRA Pain Medicine website under "Guidelines and Articles." They offer a succinct outline of how to perform various regional anesthesia and chronic pain techniques as well as gain some tips and pearls. As always, we welcome your contributions and ideas, so please get in touch via ASRAeditor@asra.com.

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