This document aims to identify elements of good practice in the management of pain and in the prescription of opioid drugs. It provides non-specialists with appropriate information to assess the needs of and manage pain in patients who are or have previously been substance misusers. It also gives guidance on models of collaborative working among relevant healthcare professionals involved in the care of patients with pain who are using, or are at risk of using drugs inappropriately.
The document particularly addresses the dual challenges of safe use of opioids for long term pain control and the effective management of persisting pain symptoms in the addicted patient. The group recognizes that substance misusing patients will frequently present to hospital for surgery or following trauma. These individuals will need short term pain management in this acute setting and many hospitals have protocols to guide professionals in these circumstances.
Publisher's Note: Currently under review December 2017.