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Addiction to opiates in the clinical setting

Last reviewed dd mmm yyyy. Last edited dd mmm yyyy

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Evidence for the emergence of addiction in the clinical setting is poor; it is in fact very rare for patients to become addicts. This is probably because of the titration of the effects of the drug against the pain felt by the patient.

People who worry include the patient, nurses, family and medical staff; they should be reassured that a short term use of opiate to relieve pain will not result in addiction.

In addition to this, there is no link between the availability of opiates on wards and their subsequent availability on the streets.

Finally, the prescribing doctor is not going to create an addict out of a terminally ill patient.

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