With the opioid addiction crisis hanging over their heads, physicians are constantly weighing the risk vs benefit of prescribing narcotics for patients in extreme pain. This can be especially tough when treating younger patients who’ve sustained an injury, such as those increasingly common in youth sports. Many physicians who specialize in sports medicine have started using a multimodal approach that employs counseling, physical therapy, and even nerve blocks. Some states have launched efforts (and even legislation) aimed at reducing the number of prescriptions written for opioid medications. A new law in New Hampshire requires prescribers to use the lowest effective dose for the shortest duration feasible and to do a formal risk assessment before writing a prescription. The patient (or the patient’s guardian) must sign an informed consent form. Finally, the patient’s ID also has to be checked against a database to ensure they’re not seeking drugs from multiple doctors. At least some of these steps are readily applicable—and may be advisable—in the urgent care setting even when not required by law, as patients are typically advised to follow up with other providers in the case of injury.
Consider Options Beyond Opioids for Young Athletes