Press & Media

85% of U.S. Doctors Suspect Some of Their Patients Abuse Opioids

Survey shows 77% list medical marijuana as least preferred alternative

WATERTOWN, MA (March 28, 2018)—The opioid epidemic causes more than 100 overdoses daily in America and fewer than 1 in 5 treating physicians approve of the government’s handling of the crisis. These findings are from a new survey of 501 physicians conducted by InCrowd and McLean Hospital.

“The doctors we surveyed showed incredible passion for this topic—they had significant insight into fixing it,” says Danielle Schroth, InCrowd’s Director of Crowd Development. “They’re frustrated that they can’t do enough for their patients’ wellbeing.”

“Part of what got us into this current crisis was physician behavior, well-meaning physician behaviors,” says Rocco Iannucci, MD, of McLean Hospital’s Division of Alcohol and Drug Treatment. “The survey uncovered physicians’ pressures towards treating pain and addiction.”

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The survey fielded by InCrowd, pioneer of real-time life science market intelligence, and McLean Hospital’s Division of Alcohol and Drug Treatment Programming, also found:

  • Nearly half (47%) disapprove of the federal government’s response
  • Forty-four percent called for stricter regulations to curb opioid abuse, while 18% wanted to discontinue opioid prescriptions all together
  • Ten percent wanted to end patient satisfaction surveys, which put pressure on physicians for positive patient ratings
  • Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDS) are the most preferred treatment alternative (68%), followed by lifestyle changes.

“There is limited education historically on treatment of pain,” says Dr. Iannucci. “So, doctors may only be familiar with a few things—perhaps Tylenol, ibuprofen, and then they move to opioids. More systematic education of medical students and residents in all specialties, and not just in pain specialization, is really important.”

About McLean Hospital
McLean Hospital is the largest psychiatric affiliate of Harvard Medical School and a member of Partners HealthCare. In 2017, it was named the #1 hospital for psychiatric care in the United States by U.S. News & World Report. For more information about McLean, visit mcleanhospital.org or follow the hospital on Facebook or Twitter.

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