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Pain medicine and addiction: A reading list

On the 10 August 2017, President Donald Trump declared a ‘national emergency’ in the United States – the cause: the country’s escalating opioid epidemic. This drug crisis has rapidly become one of the worst in American history, with data showing that in 2016 up to 65,000 people died from drug overdoses. Officials state that for citizens under 50 they are the leading cause of death, and opioid-specific overdoses make up two-thirds of all those recorded.

Despite the awareness surrounding the scale of the epidemic and the passing of the 21st Century Cures Act in December 2016, the future does not promise a clear-cut solution. Experts are now anticipating that over half a million people may die in the next ten years from opioid overdoses, and it’s believed that opioid addiction is just the beginning for many; with 80% of heroin users first misusing prescription opioids.

We have created a reading list on key Pain Medicine and Addiction titles, journal articles, and resources to build awareness of the current crisis, as well as the fundamental concepts and practices of pain medicine and addiction.

‘Opioids: An Overview’ from Chronic Pain Management for the Hospitalized Patient edited by Richard W. Rosenquist, Dmitri Souzdalnitski, and Richard D. Urman  

Up to 35% of adults suffer from chronic pain, and a substantial number of these patients are admitted to hospitals every year. A major concern of these patients is whether the pain will be adequately controlled during hospitalisation. The goal of this book is to equip clinicians to provide safe and effective management of hospitalized patients with co-existing chronic pain.


‘Acute pain in chronic opiate users’ from Acute Pain (Oxford Pain Management Library) edited by Lesley Bromley and Brigitta Brandner 

This compact volume serves as a concise guide to treating acute pain in its many manifestations. Providing a background of basic science, this book covers the fundamentals of pain, the pharmacology of drugs used, and summarises the current evidence base for the management of acute pain.


‘Adherence in Pain Medicine: Ethical Considerations’ from Facilitating Treatment Adherence in Pain Medicine edited by Martin Cheatle and Perry G. Fine  

Cheatle and Fine have produced the first book to address the obstacle patient non-adherence poses to reaching therapeutic goals in pain medicine, making it an ideal resource for pain physicians and primary care physicians who manage patients with chronic pain.


‘Pain and opioids’ from Addiction Medicine, Second Edition edited by John B. Saunders, Katherine M. Conigrave, Noeline C. Latt, David J. Nutt, E. Jane Marshall, Walter Ling, and Susumu Higuchi 

A practical guide for students, practitioners of medicine, and other health professions who come into contact with people with substance use disorders. Providing up-to-date practical assessment, diagnosis, treatment, and management options, this edition expands on the first edition through updated content and global coverage of addiction medicine.


‘The New Scarlet Letter: Addiction and Recovery’ from The Painful Truth: What Chronic Pain Is Really Like and Why It Matters to Each of Us by Lynn R. Webster, M.D.  

Internationally-recognized pain specialist Dr Lynn Webster validates the debilitating nature of pain, offers practical answers, and helps you to become a catalyst for changing the way pain is viewed in society, by drawing on his years of experience and the inspirational stories of others.


Integrative Medicine: The Treatment of Choice for Pain Management’ from Integrative Pain Management by Robert A. Bonakdar and Andrew W. Sukiennik 

Integrative Pain Management provides an overview of pain physiology, current conventional care options, an understanding of integrative medicine as it applies to pain management, the role of pain practitioners when working collaboratively, and the utilization of an expansive and patient-centred treatment model.


‘Pain Concepts’ from Pain: A Very Short Introduction by Rob Boddice  

In this Very Short Introduction, Rob Boddice explores the history, culture, and medical science of behind pain. Charting the shifting meanings of pain across time and place, he focuses on how the experience and treatment of pain has changed.


Emergency Department Patient Perspectives on the Risk of Addiction to Prescription Opioids’ by Michael Conrardy et al. from Pain Medicine  

This article aims to collate emergency department (ED) patients’ knowledge and beliefs about the addictive potential of opioids.


Evaluation of an Integrated, Multidisciplinary Program to Address Unsafe Use of Opioids Prescribed for Pain’ by William C. Becker et al. from Pain Medicine  

This paper describes an innovative program, the Opioid Reassessment Clinic, that addresses the assessment and management of pain and addiction (substance use disorder) in the setting that most matters – primary care.


Featured Image Credit: “Medications” by frolicsompl. CC0 via Pixabay.   

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