Pharmacist’s Virtual Communication Toolkit: Engaging in Effective Conversations About Opioids

Here are the results of 1,000 people starting an opioid for chronic pain

*These people have persistent problematic pain despite optimized non-opioid therapy.

112 more people will have noticeable pain relief 58 more people will have constipation/upset stomach 55 people will develop an opioid use disorder* 2 people will have an overdose and live 1-2 people will die from an overdose*

An individual could experience one or more of these results. There is no way to predict which outcomes an individual will experience.

*For 1,000 people with a substance use disorder, 90 people would develop an opioid use disorder,
10 people would have non-fatal overdoses and 5 people would have fatal overdoses.

For 1,000 people with an active psychiatric disorder, 80 people would develop an opioid use disorder, 3 people would have non-fatal overdoses and 2 people would have fatal overdoses.

Here is what happens when we give 10 people opioids and supporting care for 3-6 months

*These people have persistent problematic pain despite optimized non-opioid therapy.

  • 1 Person will have adequate relief
  • 5 people have relief, but would have improved without opioids
  • 4 people no response