Opioid Medication Use and Education Following Sports Medicine Procedures: An Evidence-to-Practice Review


  • Caitlin S. O'Mara University of South Carolina
  • Michael G. Ward University of South Carolina
  • Zachary K Winkelmann University of South Carolina




General Medical Interventions, Professional Standards (Ethical, Legal, and Regulatory Practice)


According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), illicit and prescription drug overdoses are responsible for 128 deaths every day in the United States. In 2018, 70% of all overdose related deaths involved opioids. Efforts to minimize the opioid epidemic focus on community education, research, partnership, and healthcare support. Under the CDC guidelines, current practices include monitoring trends of drug use and drug related deaths, conducting research to recognize areas in need of improvement and to analyze effectiveness of current treatments, partner with community organizations and healthcare systems that deal firsthand with opioid users, and educate the public on drug use, misuse, and overdoses. People are commonly uneducated on the proper use and disposal of their prescription opioids. Consistent and appropriate communication among surgeons and their patients can decrease this risk associated with prescription drugs. The purpose of this evidence-to-practice review was to summarize a systematic review on the current data and findings related to postoperative opioid prescribing and consumption behaviors after a common sports medicine operation. The guiding systematic review explored several ways to reduce the risk of patients developing opioid dependence and abuse due to physicians overprescribing opioids. First, educating each patient about pain management during pre- and postoperative phases, how to store opioids safely, and how to dispose of opioids properly need to be created to help reduce the risk of the patient abusing opioids. Secondly, having the prescribing provider create an extensive history that reveals any red flags for opioid abuse for each patient. Thirdly, the prescribing provider should prescribe the lowest dose and shortest regimen to limit the number of opioids left over. These protocols may help slow the current opioid epidemic.






Evidence to Practice Reviews

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