. - New recommendations aimed at ending an epidemic of overdose deaths, have been issued by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Prescriptions and sales of opioids have quadrupled since 1999 according to the CDC, fueling an epidemic of prescription opioid overdose.
The new recommendations are to help health care providers decide how best prescribe medications for chronic pain.
"More than 40 Americans die each day from prescription opioid overdoses, we must act now," said CDC Director Tom Frieden, M.D., M.P.H. "Overprescribing opioids—largely for chronic pain—is a key driver of America's drug-overdose epidemic."
The CDC indicated the guidelines are for primary care providers who write nearly half of all opioid prescriptions, primarily for chronic pain.
Chronic pain is defined as pain lasting longer than three months or past the time of normal tissue healing. The CDC points out the guidelines are not intended for cancer patients or palliative care or end-of-life.