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Opioid Crisis: Patient Safety and Education

This national public health crisis affects millions of Americans who either suffer from chronic pain or have misused opioid prescriptions to the point of developing a deadly addiction. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), more than 2 million people have an opioid use disorder (OUD) with an average of 115 people dying every day from an overdose.

What do you need to know about opioid safety?

Abusing prescribed medications like hydrocodone, OxyContin and codeine can quickly escalate into heroin and fentanyl use with increasing regularity and consequences. This takes a toll on all aspects of society, from a personal health and wellness standpoint to an economic one with billions of dollars spent on healthcare and criminal justice.


Photo of Seth Waldman
The opioid epidemic is the result of a perfect storm of socioeconomic factors, problems in the medical field and a general lack of response. As leaders in the health field, we need to unravel this while making sure people are getting adequate care.

Seth Waldman, MD
Director, HSS Pain Management Division



Our philosophy is simple: Pain should be managed only as medically necessary, and in such cases conservatively and under the close monitoring of specialists with state-of-the-art knowledge.

In the interest of patient care excellence, our physicians and staff are well-versed in the best practices relating to the prescription of pain medicines, including narcotics. When pain management through use of controlled substances is clinically indicated, practitioners at HSS seek to prescribe the lowest doses, for the shortest duration possible. HSS takes great efforts to minimize the use of controlled substances and avert drug dependence, and we are fully committed to working with our patients toward that goal.

Are you a patient at HSS? Learn about Opioids and Your Recovery.

Opioid Safety and Education Articles

Support Group Summaries

Opioid and Chronic Pain: Special Publications

HealthConnection Fall 2017 Newsletter

Approaches to Pain Management

Managing Narcotics and Opioids for Chronic Pain (en Español)


Posts from the HSS Blog: The Playbook


Facebook Live Videos

Dr. Seth Waldman FB Live

Discussion on Opioids

In this Facebook Live video, Seth Waldman, MD, Director of the HSS Division of Pain Management, discusses the opioid health crisis in the historical context of pain management over the past few decades and key opioid side effects, such as tolerance and addiction.



Drs. Doyle and DelPizzo FB Live

Pediatric Orthopedic Surgery & Anesthesiology

Pediatric orthopedist Dr. Shevaun Doyle and anesthesiologist Dr. Kate DelPizzo discuss how HSS reduces the need for opioids during and after surgery in children.



Drs. Hannafin and Kumar FB Live

Managing Pain Post-Surgery

In this Facebook Live video, sports medicine physician Dr. Jo Hannafin and anesthesiologist Dr. Kanupriya Kumar discuss how to manage postsurgical pain while avoiding health risks associated with narcotic pain medications (opioids).



Opioid Topics in the News



Back to Opioid Stewardship


If you or someone you know is suffering from addiction to opioids, please reach out for help. The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) has a national helpline. It is a free, confidential, 24/7, 365-day-a-year treatment referral and information service (in English and Spanish) for individuals and families facing mental and/or substance use disorders.

1.800.662.HELP (4357)