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The era of opioid-free surgery has arrived

As we follow the national opioid epidemic, with its greater than five deaths per hour from opioid overdoses, the focus is shifting to methods for limiting an individual’s exposure to these drugs. For most of us, our first contact with these highly addictive medications is after surgery. Studies now reveal that 60 percent of pills prescribed for pain after surgery go unused. These opioids often make their way to other family members, are kept for continued use by the surgical patient to maintain a feeling of euphoria, or even find their way out into the community. Limiting the number of pills and refills prescribed is a good start, but should we consider not using opioids, or discharging...

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