Opioid deprescribing toolkit

The Eastern AHSN is working in partnership with the ARC and Norfolk and Waveney CCG to improve the quality of life of people living with chronic pain and reducing the harm caused by opioids and other dependence forming medication.
We are working with senior NHS staff and patients to pilot a toolkit for clinicians to aid the deprescribing of opioids in the region.

Opioids are very good analgesics for acute pain and pain at the end of life but guidance from NICE is clear that opioids are not indicated for chronic pain and guidance from the Royal College of Anaesthetists encourages their use in chronic pain only in specific circumstances and at a low dose in addition to clarifying the harm that can be caused otherwise.

To help support healthcare professionals to address overuse of opioids in chronic pain, a research group from the University of East Anglia (and funded by NIHR ARC East of England) identified six behavioural mechanisms that support prescribers to taper opioids use.

We are working in partnership with the ARC and Norfolk and Waveney CCG to convene a group of key stakeholders to co-produce and pilot an evidence-based strategy to address the six toolkit components:

  • Generate a clear expectation that tapering is the role of prescribers.
  • To develop a care pathway within existing resources to permit timely access to non-pharmacological interventions.
  • Create a consistent approach by all members of the healthcare in supporting patients to taper and stop opioids.
  • To provide prescribers with the knowledge about how to taper opioid and
  • To build confidence in prescribers initiating tapering discussions and managing psychological consequences of tapering.
  • To align patient and prescriber expectations of tapering.

The project aims to evaluate the best ways healthcare professionals can improve patient quality of life through a significant reduction in both opioid and other dependence forming medication prescribed for chronic pain.

Our journey to implement the Opioid deprescribing toolkit

These steps outline how we have approached the rollout of the toolkit. For more detail, see the infographic.

Identify icon
Step 1

Identify and engage with key stakeholders

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Step 2

Gap analysis of local resources or services

Step 3

Bringing our stakeholders together

Step 4

Identifying guidelines and developing a pathway

Step 5



If you are intersted in launching an opioid deprescribing pathway, you may find the following resources useful. We ask for a few basic details to understand who is accessing these resources.

Get involved

If you would like to find out more about this project, contact [email protected].

Infographic to show our journey to implement the opioid deprescribing toolkit

Implement opioid deprescribing toolkit infographic

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