Opioid addiction, diversion, and abuse in chronic and cancer pain

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Purpose of review

The primary cause of overdose death in the United States is related to pharmaceutical opioids. A few particular populations that struggle with adverse outcomes related to opioid abuse are those in palliative care, those with chronic pain, and those receiving pain treatments secondary to cancer or chemotherapy.

Recent findings

There have been massive efforts to decrease the use of opioid abuse in patient care in a gestalt manner, but palliative care provides unique challenges in applying these reduction tactics used by other specialties.


We explore behavioral interventions, provider education, alternative pain management techniques, postmarketing surveillance, and abuse-deterrent formulas as emerging methods to counteract opioid abuse in these populations.

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