ASA publishes new guidelines for patients with substance use disorder

The American Society of Anesthesiologists developed new guidelines for health professionals to follow when choosing post-surgery pain management for individuals with a history of addiction, according to a July 18 report from

Opioids are an effective way to control serious pain immediately after surgery, but the country's ongoing opioid crisis creates challenges for how healthcare providers should respond.

The guideline's first step is identification. Healthcare professionals must actively screen and watch patients to determine which patients are at risk for opioid addiction before moving forward with the pain management process.

The ASA also emphasizes coordinated care among all healthcare workers who will be directly or indirectly working with a patient. The guideline directs providers to prescribe opioids in the lowest possible dose post-surgery to minimize the possibility of addiction, according to the report.

Finally, the guideline urges healthcare professionals to educate themselves and their patients on what the risks of opioid use are and what can be done to lessen the risk throughout the process.

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