Tips for Talking About Opioids and Pain with Patients

Health care providers often request guidance on how to have conversations with patients about opioids, pain treatment, addiction and other topics that may be challenging. In this collection, we have gathered materials that provide support to providers as they have these difficult conversations.

First, there are several documents from the Minnesota Opioid Prescribing Improvement Project’s Flip the Script campaign. The Flip the Script campaign was developed by the Minnesota Department of Human Services in collaboration with providers in the state to help facilitate effective conversations with patients about opioids and pain management. Documents from the Flip the Script campaign collected here include :

  • A 4-minute video that features a physician and a patient who worked together to lower the patient’s opioid dose and improve the patient’s quality of life
  • A 4-page guide with language providers can use when talking to patients about difficult topics such as tapering opioids dose and alternatives to opioids for pain relief
  • And two 4-page guides, one for prescribers and one for non-prescribers, about talking to patients about pain management and opioids

Also included is:

  • An 8-page guide from the California chapter of the American College of Emergency Physicians about talking to emergency department patients about safe prescribing with suggested language for providers to use
  • A 2-page guide from the Oregon Pain Management Commission about connecting with your patient and changing the conversation about pain, and
  • A 1-page guide from the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration about talking to your patients about pain management and opioids

If you have additional materials we should consider including in this collection, please see our call for submissions page.

Payers & Providers
Patients & Caregivers

What Happens When You Flip the Script?

Source: Minnesota Department of Human Services

This 4 minute video from Minnesota’s Flip the Script campaign features interviews with a physician and patient about how the decision to change the patient’s opioid prescription improved the patient’s quality of life and the provider’s relationship to his patients and his practice.

Video
Payers & Providers

Flip the Script: Difficult Conversations

Source: Minnesota Department of Human Services

This 4 page guide from Minnesota’s Flip the Script campaign centers on health care providers and conducting difficult conversations with patients around opioids. The guide covers topics such as tapering opioid dose, pain relief, emerging behavioral health conditions, and concerns about the addiction risk of using opioids and includes sample language providers can use when talking to patients.

Document
Payers & Providers

Flip the Script: Discussion Guide

Source: Minnesota Department of Human Services

This 4 page guide from Minnesota’s Flip the Script campaign centers on health care providers conducting difficult conversations with patients around opioids. This guide provides information about the risks of long-term opioid therapy and provides information about understanding acute, post-acute and chronic pain. It also outlines talking points and specific language health care providers can use when talking to their patients.

Document
Payers & Providers

Flip the Script: Discussion Guide for Non-Prescribers

Source: Minnesota Department of Human Services

A 4 page guide for non-prescribers about having difficult conversations with patients about pain management and opioids from Minnesota’s Flip the Script campaign. This guide provides information about the risks of long-term opioid therapy and provides information about understanding acute, post-acute and chronic pain. The guide provides talking points and specific language health care providers can use when talking to their patients and preparing patients to continue the discussion with their prescribing provider.

Document
Payers & Providers

How to Talk to Your Patients About Safe Prescribing

Source: California American College of Emergency Physicians

This document provides guidance to emergency department physicians about talking to their patients about safe prescribing. Created by the California College of Emergency Physicians it provides tips on what to say to patients when they ask for inappropriate prescriptions and how to provide safe and responsible care in the emergency department.

Document
Payers & Providers

Connecting With Your Patient About Pain

Source: Oregon Pain Management Commission

This report provides guidance to health care providers on how to talk to patients about pain.

Document
Payers & Providers

Rx Pain Medications: Talking to Your Patients About Opioids

Source: Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA)

This one page document for health care providers provides guidance about how to talk to patients about pain management and opioids.

Document