By Shelly Morrow Mark, Executive Editor, AHC Media

A recent study in the journal Medical Care estimated the economic burden of prescription opioid overdose and abuse at $78.5 billion. In the October issues of Emergency Medicine Reports, a two-part series examines alternatives to opioids for treating acute pain in the emergency department. Here is an excerpt from Dr. Sandra Schneider’s editor’s introduction:

“As emergency physicians, we want to ensure our patients are not suffering severe pain. But, at the same time, we clearly need to reduce the use of opioids. Balancing these two priorities is difficult but important to our patients and society as a whole.”

Part I of the article discusses nitrous oxide, trigger point injections, and intravenous lidocaine, while part II covers ultrasound-guided nerve blocks and sub-dissociative doses of ketamine.