While opioid prescription and use for pain management is a major concern in some parts of the world, the context of opioid use clearly differs between countries. Many countries in Europe have in place significant barriers to optimal pain management due to inappropriate restrictions on supply and use. Opioids are an important part of a modern approach to pain management and palliative care, and misplaced barriers to access can lead to unnecessary suffering.

Opioids are not a panacea for all types of pain, and must only be used in selected and supervised pain patients as part of a comprehensive, multi-modal, multi-disciplinary approach to treatment. In this context alone, opioid therapy is an essential and indispensable tool in achieving and maintaining an optimal level of pain control in selected patients.

The European Pain Federation calls for continuous medical education on the correct use of opioids in multi-professional and multi-modal therapeutic approaches. We also call for enhancing access to comprehensive pain assessment clinics and therapies and increasing funds for robust research on pain management.

Please find the full European Pain Federation position paper on appropriate opioid use in chronic pain management here.