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    Mayo Clinic Minute: National Health Checkup on Opioids

Despite increased awareness efforts about the opioid crisis; overdose deaths from prescription opioids; and illegal drugs, such as heroin, continue to be a problem. That's according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Dr. Halena Gazelka, a Mayo Clinic anesthesiologist and pain medicine specialist, says results of the Mayo Clinic National Health Checkup on opioids reveals misconceptions in the general public about opioid use.

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"The deaths from opioids are on the rise on a daily, monthly, yearly basis," Dr. Gazelka says.

The Mayo Clinic National Checkup on opioids is a survey of American's views on opioid use.

"I think the most important thing that the public should know is that opioids are good medicines [when used properly]," says Dr. Gazelka.

But the survey shows many people aren't sure how opioids should be used. Of those surveyed, the vast majority of Americans mistakenly view opioids as intended for chronic pain. Most see opioid addiction as an issue but don't see themselves as being at risk. Most don't know how to dispose of unused opioids, and 94 percent would like to use alternatives after surgery but don't talk about it with their health care providers.

"We are not at the Mayo Clinic advising that people never use opioids. We want people to use the right medicine for the right patient at the right time ─ and for the right period of time," says Dr. Gazelka.