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The Law of Unintended Consequences: When Pain Management Leads to Medication Errors

Steven Hanks, MD, MMM, FACP
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In 2001, The Joint Commission released new pain guidelines and attempted to address the problem of undertreated pain; however, the resulting focus on the pain score number has inadvertently led to some serious adverse drug events. In addition, the recent dramatic increase in opioid use has resulted in greater abuse of these prescribed drugs, often by teenagers.