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Pain Research and Management
Volume 2019, Article ID 7490801, 12 pages
Review Article

Risk Factors and Prevention Strategies for Postoperative Opioid Abuse

1Department of Anesthesiology, First Hospital of Jilin University, Changchun, China
2Department of Neurosurgery, First Hospital of Jilin University, Changchun, China
3Department of Anesthesiology, Second Hospital of Xi’an Jiaotong University, Xi’an, China

Correspondence should be addressed to Wei Han; moc.uhos@sykzmyydj and Yuan Zhang; moc.361@00251034881

Received 26 October 2018; Accepted 25 June 2019; Published 10 July 2019

Academic Editor: Robert L. Barkin

Copyright © 2019 Shuai Zhao et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Worldwide, 80% of patients who undergo surgery receive opioid analgesics as the fundamental agent for pain relief. However, the irrational use of opioids leads to excessive drug dependence and drug abuse, resulting in an increased mortality rate and huge economic loss. The crisis of opioid overuse remains a great challenge. In this review, we summarize several key factors in opioid abuse, including race, region, income, genetic factors, age and gender, smoking and alcohol abuse, history of chronic pain and analgesic drug abuse, surgery, neuropsychiatric illness, depression and antidepressant use, human factors, national policies, hospital regulations, and health insurance under treatment of pain. Furthermore, we present several prevention strategies, such as perioperative measures, opioid substitutes, treatment of the primary illness, emotional regulation, use of opioid antagonists, efforts of the state, hospitals, doctors and pharmacy benefit managers, gene therapy, and vaccines. Greater understanding and better assessment are required of the risks associated with opioid abuse to ensure the safety and analgesic effects of pain treatment after surgery.