NEWS RELEASE: GetWellNetwork research highlights more than half of consumers surveyed would avoid taking prescribed opioids for fear of becoming dependent or judged

64% of people would choose alternate painkillers over prescribed opioids

WASHINGTON, DC – May 21, 2019 – GetWellNetwork, the Precision Engagement healthcare company reaching 10 million patients annually, today announced findings from its recent survey revealing major gaps in education around prescribed opioids, leading to a heightened stigma associated with usage, fear of addiction and improper disposal methods. The survey, commissioned by GetWellNetwork, polled 1,000 consumers ages 18+ across the U.S. about their views on prescribed opioids.

According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), on average, 130 people die each day from an opioid overdose. While there are many reasons for addiction and misuse, a major component is poor education around proper pain management regimens. Not only does the research confirm the shortcomings of education around proper use, but it reveals that negative perceptions with usage, even when prescribed, are driving consumers to seek alternate options.

Key findings from the survey include:

  • Opioids are perceived to be dangerous, regardless of how they’re used. Though opioids for
    pain management are generally safe when used as prescribed, three-quarters of respondents (75%) believe there’s a negative perception/judgment associated with prescribed opioid use, even when they’re a key element of a patient’s treatment plan. Further, a third (34%) of respondents believe they are dangerous and always lead to misuse.
  • Because there’s such a strong stigma around opioid use in general, people will avoid taking opioids altogether, even when prescribed. More than half (57%) of respondents said they
    would avoid taking opioids for fear of being judged or becoming dependent. In fact, they’d
    prefer several other pain management medications over opioids—64% of people would rather
    take aspirin, ibuprofen or alternative painkillers.
  • Best practices for disposal are largely unknown. In addition to believing opioids always lead to addiction, almost half (48%) of survey respondents don’t know how to properly dispose of these medications safely. Eleven percent (11%) would throw them in the garbage, 19% would flush them and 19% would save them for future use. This is alarming given that many cases of misuse occur when unused opioids are left in easy access to friends and family.

“Having spent nearly 30-years as a nurse, most of that time being in the ER, I’ve seen the effects of opioid misuse firsthand too many times,” said Linda Robinson MSN, R.N. at GetWellNetwork. “This is a multifaceted challenge that won’t be solved overnight. Ensuring prescription opioids don’t lead to an addiction takes a combination of tailored education on proper pain management and the right interventions at the right time.”

To learn more about how GetWellNetwork is helping healthcare organizations interrupt the
prescription-addiction pathway with digital health education about prescription opioid use and misuse,
proper disposal options and healthy pain management practices visit here.

Survey Methodology
This survey was commissioned by GetWellNetwork in late April 2019 and conducted through Dynata, polling 1,000 United States-based consumers. Dynata offers a global footprint, providing B2B and B2C insights across more than 45 countries. They offer a variety of sample sources, including panels, web intercept samples and specialty lists to meet project requirements. Through their “Total Research Quality” system, Dynata monitors the data through various quality checks to ensure consistent precision. 510 males and 490 females ages 18 and older were polled for this survey, self-identifying employment status, estimated household income, education, ethnicity and marital status.

About GetWellNetwork
GetWellNetwork is the Precision Engagement healthcare company. Our solutions engage patients and families, empower clinicians and deliver outcomes that matter. From inpatient to outpatient, to physician practices and urgent care clinics, to patients on the go, GetWellNetwork offers the only cross-continuum platform that performs across every care setting. Learn more at or follow @GetWellNetwork on social media.

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