Survey: 5 findings on opioid prescription behaviors in 2016

A little over 50 percent of physicians from all specialties have reduced the amount of opioids they prescribe, according to a nationwide, online poll, conducted by Sermo for The Boston Globe.

The survey was conducted from Dec. 15, 2016, through Dec. 22, 2016. It includes responses from 3,000 U.S. physicians.

Here are five findings:

1. A little under 10 percent of physicians have stopped prescribing opioids altogether.

2. Forty percent of those polled have not changed their opioid prescribing patterns.

3. Among those who had reduced or stopped prescribing opioids, 34 percent cited "too many hassles and risks" as the main reason.

4. Improved understanding of opioid-related risks (29 percent) and concern about getting in trouble with licensing boards or regulators (16 percent) were also cited as reasons for changing opioid prescribing behaviors.

5. Around 36 percent of physicians believe that chronic pain patients have been hurt by the reduction in opioid prescriptions, whereas 64 percent believe this change has helped patients.

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