handed out each year in the U.S., with 60 million of those going to adults suffering from anxiety, depression or other disorders. “[Physicians are] in a busy clinical environment, they’ve got eight patients waiting in the office. It’s much easier tactically to just write a prescription.”
Sites wants to see a better system for assessing the outcomes of treatment to justify some prescribing, but also says that the number of opioid prescriptions handed out has to drop.
“Right now we have a very coarse way of knowing if these drugs are working,” he added. “There’s a general agreement in the medical community that we need to reduce the U.S. dependency on prescription opioids. The way we’re going to do that is social policy and political leaders must build the infrastructure needed to better diagnose and treat both pain and mental illness.”
Sites hopes his research will encourage an examination of opioid prescription practices.
“Patients need reliable access to non-opioid based alternatives. We need to really expand the infrastructure to be able to assess functional improvements, and also to be able to offer non-opioid alternatives, such as cognitive behavioral therapy, meditation, massage, acupuncture, physical therapy. All these other modalities are pretty low risk.”