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If a hospice patient takes narcotics, will he/she get addicted?

Stacie Karczmiarz
Oncology Nursing

Some of the medications given through hospice are medications on which the body becomes physically dependent upon; meaning if the patient were to be on a specific medication for a long enough amount of time, and this medication was then abruptly stopped, that patient would most likely go through the signs and symptoms of withdrawal. That being said, for the most part we do not worry about this with hospice patients, cancer patients, or patients with severe chronic pain. For these patients narcotics are necessary to control their pain and have quality of life. Hospice patients are not given more medication than they need. They also will most likely need these medications for the duration of their life. Many hospice patients are able to take these medications while still living at home, and if anything the medications have a positive impact in their life because these patients can now participate in activities that were otherwise restricted by pain.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.