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.

Featured Collection
Policymakers & Community Leaders
Payers & Providers

Heal Safely Toolkit

Source: Oregon Health Authority, Brink Communication, & Goodwin Simon Strategic Research

This web-based opioid prevention toolkit from Oregon Health Authority’s Heal Safely campaign is intended to be used by community health workers and public health officials to help communities find safe non-opioid options for healing safely and addressing pain.

External Website
Policymakers & Community Leaders
Payers & Providers
Patients & Caregivers

COVID-19 Resources

Source: National Academies of Science, Engineering, & Medicine

The National Academies of Medicine’s COVID-19 response page includes resources for supporting individuals with substance use disorder and those who experience pain. It includes links to NAM’s publications and webinars as well as links to other organizations producing materials to address the needs of these individuals.

External Website
Payers & Providers

Intersection of Pain and Addiction

Source: Office Based Addiction Treatment at Boston Medical Center's Grayken for Addiction

This 6 minute video titled “Intersection of Pain and Addiction” from a clinician at Boston Medical Center’s Grayken Center for Addiction describes how addiction often develops after treatment for pain, how individuals with substance use disorder experience pain differently, and how important it is to treat pain in individuals with current SUD or a history of SUD.

Video
Payers & Providers

Nebraska Pain Management Guidance Document: A Provider and Community Resource

Source: Nebraska Department of Health and Human Services

The 2017 Nebraska Pain Management Guidance document was developed by an expert advisory task force consisting of actively practicing clinicians and prescribers, public health officers and senior state officials. The guidance is notable for addressing a broad range of topics including

Document
Payers & Providers

The Oregon State Drug Review: Update on Recent Guidance and Safety Alerts for Opioid Use in Non-cancer Pain

Source: Oregon Department of Human Services

This 2019 update from the Oregon Drug Use Research & Management board provides recommendations for the use of opioids in treating non-cancer pain. The document summarizes guidelines on opioid prescribing produced by the Veterans Administration, the American Society of Interventional Pain Physicians, and the Oregon Health Authority.

Document
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

Minnesota Opioid Prescribing Guidelines – 2018 First Edition

Source: Minnesota Department of Human Services

The Minnesota Department of Human Services convened a group of stakeholders to address opioid prescribing in the state through the Opioid Prescribing Improvement Project. The Opioid Prescribing Workgroup produced these 2018 guidelines on opioid prescribing for use by providers

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

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