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Nurs Clin North Am. 1998 Mar;33(1):47-60.

Substance abuse concerns in the treatment of pain.

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Samuel Merritt College, Oakland, California, USA.


Current knowledge about the use of options for the management of patient pain opposes conventional practice, which is guided by misunderstandings and personal attitudes and beliefs. An understanding of substance abuse and the behavior and needs of the person with substance dependence are important elements in a nurse's knowledge base. This understanding allows him/her to safely and effectively manage pain in all patients. Effective pain management education needs to be comprehensive and should include not only updated information, but also explore origins of beliefs about pain and substance abuse and how these beliefs affect current practice. This article discusses the common myths that often guide nurses' management of patient pain and offers strategies for care that are based on current understandings.

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