Poll: Contract hoped to reduce opioid addiction


In an effort to crack down on opioid abuse, many doctors around the U.S. are asking patients to sign a "contract" before they'll prescribe an opioid medication

Addiction expert Vaughan Gilmore of the Menninger Clinic says the contract may cause some push back from patients. “There is some concern that the contracts are coming across as mistrustful and accusatory. That’s why we prefer to use a “treatment agreement,” not a contract. It’s more collaborative in nature. Some patients who have been offered the contract said they feel like they’re being treated like criminals.”

 The agreement has no punitive function and is not legally binding, but it could save lives.

Many doctors around the country are now asking patients with chronic pain to sign a document agreeing to certain conditions before they'll prescribe an opioid pain medication.

As part of these "opioid contracts" or "pain contracts," patients agree to random urine drug screens, opioid pill counts, and other conditions. Violation of the terms can result in patients no longer being prescribed opioids by that medical professional. The contracts, also known as "opioid treatment agreements," are one tool among many aimed at reducing the misuse of prescription opioids such as oxycodone, hydrocodone, and codeine. We talked to Vaughan Gilmore , coordinator of Addiction Services, counselor, social worker, and opioid addiction expert with Menninger Outpatient.

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