The latest numbers coming in project more than 60,000 deaths related to drug overdose in 2016. Fentanyl-associated deaths have skyrocketed in the last four years and should be a concern to our specialty given the ubiquity of this drug in our practice.

Although a subset of these deaths stem from post-surgical opioid prescribing, every clinician involved in pain manage-ment has a responsibility for curbing the American opioid epidemic. The interplay among patients, anesthesiologists, surgeons, pharmacists, nurses and other perioperative providers should have a common goal to provide functional recovery while reducing adverse effects and harm to their community. Surgery itself is a risk factor for chronic opioid use; therefore, as perioperative consultants, we need to understand the problem, prevent the preventable issues and come up with systems solutions to reduce risk.

Pain is an emotional and sensory...

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