Opioids Aware: A resource for patients and healthcare professionals to support prescribing of opioid medicines for pain

FPM in partnership with Public Health England 
Good practice in prescribing opioid medicines for pain should reflect fundamental principles in prescribing generally. The decision to prescribe is underpinned by applying best professional practice; understanding the condition, the patient and their context and understanding the clinical use of the drug. Initiating, tapering or stopping opioid medicines should be managed in agreement with the patient and all members of their healthcare team. This resource, developed by UK healthcare professionals and policymakers, provides the information to support a safe and effective prescribing decision.

This resource has been written and collated by heathcare professionals with the support of stakeholder policy groups.

Contributors to the resource have included representatives from:

  • British Pain Society
  • Care Quality Commision
  • Faculty of Addictions, Royal College of Psychiatrists
  • Faculty of Pain Medicine, Royal College of Anaesthetists
  • NHS England
  • NICE
  • NHS Business Services Authority
  • Public Health England
  • Royal College of General Practioners
  • Royal Pharmaceutical Society


Opioids and the law, writing opioid prescriptions, patient safety, reporting harms, record keeping, prescribing
Assessment and challenges of long-term pain, the role of medicines, a stepped approach to opioid prescribing
Opioids for different types of pain, their effectiveness and harms.
Patient assessment, the opioid trial, long-term prescribing, stopping opioids, equivalents, the addicted patient
Diagnosis, treatment and management of patients with current of previous history of opioid addiction.
Types of pain, thinking about starting opioid medication and frequently asked questions about taking opioids