Hastings Center Report 51 (4):46-9 (2021)

Authors
Larisa Svirsky
Ohio State University
Abstract
Opioid treatment agreements are written agreements between physicians and patients enumerating the risks associated with opioid medications along with the requirements that patients must meet to receive these medications on an ongoing basis. The choice to use such agreements goes beyond the standard informed consent process, and has a distinctive symbolic significance. Specifically, it suggests that physicians regard it as important to hold their patients accountable for adhering to various protocols regarding the use of their opioid medications. After laying out a taxonomy of accountability relationships between physicians and patients, I argue that opioid treatment agreements are only justifiable for physicians to use in their provision of care if they improve public health outcomes, which has yet to be demonstrated.
Keywords opioid treatment agreements  accountability  clinical relationship
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Reprint years 2021
DOI 10.1002/hast.1273
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