Do you prescribe opioid pain medications? Scroll down for easy-to-read summaries of the latest literature, prescribing practices, patient education materials, and other information specifically tailored to medical professionals. 

Best Practices

What do we know about how much opioid pain medication most people need after a given operation or injury? 


What are the best alternatives to opioids? What is the best way to control pain after surgery or injury? 


What is the safest way for patients to dispose of unused opioids? How can you help educate your patients? 

Safe and Effective Pain Control After Surgery for Children and Teens

 The American College of Surgeons released an educational brochure designed to help guide discussions around perioperative pain control, goals of pain therapy, non-opioid pain management options, and safe storage and disposal of opioids. This brochure includes a section where you can lay out a pain management plan with your patient’s family. There is also a reference to a DEA website where families can locate drop-off locations to securely dispose of unused opioids. 

Safer Prescribing of Opioids after Trauma and Surgery

SPOTS offers an opportunity for collaborative learning with experts about best practices in opioid prescribing, and with other providers around the state about the current challenges and opportunities in treating our injured patients’ pain. Prescribed pain medication after surgery and traumatic injury is among the most common first exposures to opioids.

The majority of opioid prescriptions were provided by primary care physicians, followed by surgeons (9-12 months after surgery).


In 2017, there were enough opioids prescribed to supply every person in the US with 32 pills, only a slight decrease from the 36 pill rate reported in 2016. 



Welcome to Safer Opioids!

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Welcome to Safer Opioids. We’re glad you’re here!

This website is designed to provide easy access to the most important information about prescription opioids – for patients, medical providers, and the public. It is, and always will be, a work in progress, so check back often for new information, or follow us on Twitter (@Safer_Opioids) to stay up to date. As we launch the site, we’re featuring information from our recent series of collaborative learning teleconferences, Safer Prescribing of Opioids after Trauma and Surgery (SPOTS). You can watch these sessions on the site, or link to the University of Wisconsin’s continuing education site to get free CME (including opioid CME for Wisconsin providers). We’re also featuring our newest video, It’s Not Worth The Risk, which describes the danger of prescribing codeine and tramadol to children and provides safer alternatives [link].

We hope this is the beginning of a long conversation about the best way to prescribe, use, and prevent abuse of prescription opioids.  Please let us know what you think, either on Twitter or by email to We want this site to be useful to you, and the best way to do that is for you to tell us what you want to see.

Thanks for visiting. Don’t be a stranger.

Jonathan Emerson Kohler, MD