What's in a Name? The Language of Opioid Use

April 13, 2019
Gretchen McNally, PhD, ANP-BC, AOCNP

The terminology that oncology nurses use to describe opioid addiction can affect patient care.

There are plenty of terms that oncology nurses and other practitioners can use when discussing opioid addiction, explained Gretchen McNally, PhD, ANP-BC, AOCNP, a nurse practitioner at The Ohio State University James Cancer Hospital.

While the American Society of Addition Medicine prefers the word "addiction," the clinical term is "opioid or substance use disorder." However, McNally mentioned that she strays away from phrasing such as "substance dependence, abuse, or misuse," as that can be stigmatizing, and may ultimately end up affecting patient care.