It is a vital time for public health to address smoking as a risk factor for opioid misuse.

The opioid epidemic has been a growing public health crisis for years, and given the recent rise of overdose deaths, there’s no time like the present for health care providers to address associated risk factors, such as smoking.
Currently, research and literature on the association between smoking/nicotine dependence and prescription opioid misuse among the general population are limited, but the available facts are alarming.

Furthermore, empirical evidence has shown that there is a significant association between smoking and pain, and smokers tend to have a higher intensity of pain compared to non-smokers, putting them at higher risk of opioid misuse/dependency.

A key takeaway for providers: Addressing tobacco use with patients being treated for pain may be useful in reducing pain, as well as reducing the need for pain medication.

Click here to download SCLC’s infographic on The Opioid Epidemic and Smoking.

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