Mitigating the Opioid Crisis for Wound Care Providers Using Opioid Stewardship

Robert George Smith, DPM, MSc, RPh


Wounds. 2020;32(6):146-151. 

In This Article

R: Recognizing and Reducing Risks of Opioid Harm

"R" stands for recognizing and reducing the risks of opioid harm. Therapeutic success depends on proper candidate selection, assessment prior to the administration of opioid therapy, as well as close patient monitoring.[5–9] While substance abuse tools assess whether a patient was or is involved in alcohol or drug abuse, risk assessment tools measure additional factors involving a patient's overall level of risk of developing abuse or addiction.[19,20] Beyond recording a comprehensive medical history via effective patient interviews, there are several risk assessment tools to help further evaluate the probability of the patient facing difficulty using opioid analgesics as prescribed. Screening for risk factors is ideally performed on the patient's first visit or before prescribing opioids, and patients who have been consuming opioids for long periods of time should be routinely screened.[13]