PainRelief.com Interview with:
Mary Clare Kennedy, PhD
Canada Research Chair in Substance Use Policy and Practice Research
Assistant Professor, School of Social Work
University of British Columbia | Okanagan Campus
Research Scientist, British Columbia Centre on Substance Use
PainRelief.com: What is the background for this study?
Response: In an effort to reduce opioid-related harms, Canada and the United States have implemented guidelines for prescribing opioids for chronic pain. One of the recommendations in these guidelines is that prescribers reduce opioid doses and potentially discontinue treatment when risks outweigh benefits. Concerns have been raised that these guidelines could result in more clinicians inappropriately reducing doses or cutting patients off of prescribed opioids, which could increase the risk of harms such as overdose. However, the effects of discontinuing and tapering opioid treatment for pain on overdose risk have been understudied.