Naloxone faces an unexpected barrier to greater access – the physicians who are reluctant to prescribe it. According to a new Kaiser Permanente Colorado study, some clinicians’ unwillingness to risk offending patients hinders the prescribing of naloxone (which can rapidly counteract the effects of an overdose) to opioid-users and a failure to communicate the risk of overdose at all remains a related issue. Researchers from Kaiser Permanente, Denver Health Medical Center and the University of Colorado School of Medicine conducted 10 focus groups with 56 clinicians from August 2013 to August 2014. They asked about attitudes regarding prescribing naloxone to patients at internal medicine, family medicine and HIV clinics. Almost none of the doctors had prescribed naloxone and some were concerned that having naloxone available could lead to riskier use of opioids. This new research comes at a time when, according to CDC data, fatal prescription opioid overdoses have quadrupled since 1999 and 44 people die each day from prescription painkillers.
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