New Survey: Most Women Prefer Non-Opioid Options and Support Change in Payment Policy to Increase Access

Survey also highlights lack of screening for substance use disorder and challenges around stigma

You can access the survey here.

A national survey conducted by Morning Consult of nearly 1100 women ages 25-59 from May of 2018 reveals powerful findings related to three correlating factors exacerbating the opioid epidemic: insufficient access to non-addictive pain management options; inadequate screening for substance use disorder; and the powerful nature of stigma around substance use disorder.

The survey exposes women’s support for increased use of and access to non-addictive opioid alternatives, which is sharply contrasted with the amount of education they receive about such available options.

  • 67 percent of women believe opioid alternatives are better for patients’ physical health, and 68 percent believe they are better for patients’ mental health.  However, only 3 in 10 women were educated by their clinician about these options before receiving a prescription for an opioid.
  • 84 percent of women support improving patient access to non-opioid medications.
  • 79 percent of women believe payment policy should change to grant patients access to non-opioid pain management options.

The survey also reveals that only 20 percent women are screened for substance use disorder, and yet many are prescribed opioids.  This dangerous combination occurs frequently in the surgical setting—which has resulted in the operating room becoming an unintented gateway to the opioid epidemic. In 2016, three million patients transitioned to persistent opioid use after surgery—meaning they were still taking opioids three to six months after their procedure; two million of these patients were women.

These findings are particularly alarming given that recent studies show 90 percent of all postsurgical patients receive opioids—despite the fact the majority of women polled indicated they would prefer a non-opioid medication.