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The Opioid Epidemic

Consumers & HealthCare Guide

This book looks at how the opioid epidemic started and where we are now. We examined and explained the causes of the epidemic and who are most likely responsible, as we looked at prescription drugs and the doctors and providers who write these prescriptions. The impact of legal and illegal opioids and their contribution to the opioid epidemic are discussed. Also, non-opioid drugs, which are also a major contributing factor to the opioid epidemic, are considered. The significance of diversions of opioids and controlled substances are also discussed.


The impact of the opioid epidemic on family and loved ones, including teens and young adults, is also presented, as well as some of the obstacles to available treatment.


Appropriate medical, non-medical intervention, and treatment as well as the obstacles faced by those of us who work with chronic and acute pain patients are discussed at length with an emphasis on addiction treatment, prevention. Alternative therapies such as marijuana, non-traditional treatments, and some controversial programs are also examined. The importance of naloxone is thoroughly discussed.


As we move forward, we looked at what can be done, and some of the things that are being done in other countries that are helpful in their fight against the opioid crisis. We also looked at what is being done in our country by various sectors, including but not limited to the government, providers, and healthcare insurance companies.


The importance of opioid use in our society is discussed, along with the need for continuing opioid treatment despite the number of deaths it has caused.


This book provides a relatively simple approach to a very complex problem; as well as information that will create a better understanding by consumers, the public as a whole, and some healthcare providers/physicians of some of the challenges involved with opioid use, treatment and addiction. This book is intended for consumers and the general public, as well as healthcare providers mainly engaged in primary care and service treatment of patients who are potential users of opioids, and those who are already on opioids and other controlled substances.

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Foster’s Opioid Classification 

Addiction Status (FOCAS)  Guide

The Foster’s Opioid Classification Addiction Status (FOCAS) is a nomenclature(naming) or grouping of every one of us into a class. This allows for easier characterization of individuals/patients or potential users and users of opioids. This flowchart (algorithms)/table will allow comparable language and descriptions among providers in the healthcare field. This can also help with treatment stratification or protocols. In general, this has the potential to simplify communications between professionals.


This classification is not a risk assessment tool for the use of opioids. However, understanding patients’ addiction status allowed for better stratification concerning treatment options and possibly the level of care and intervention each patient or individual may need. Throughout the algorithm, patients’ risk level will vary and change and may be at any level regardless of the group or class they entered or are classified.


Appropriate medical, non medical intervention, treatment and the possible obstacles that will be faced by those of us who work with chronic and acute pain patients can be more clearly defined once we have an understanding and knowledge of each one’s Opioid Addiction Status.


This book provides a relatively simple but useful approach to a very complex problem, as well as providing information that will create a better understanding among healthcare providers/physicians that will allow uniform communications among professionals involved with the opioids use, treatment and addiction.

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