(HealthDay)—Only one-fourth of U.S. plastic surgery residents report receiving opioid-prescriber education, according to a study published in the July issue of Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery.

David W. Grant, M.D., from the Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis, and colleagues surveyed plastic surgery trainees at a sample of U.S. and Canadian academic institutions to understand opioid-prescriber education, factors contributing to prescribing practices, and analgesic prescriptions written after eight procedures.

Based on 162 responses (32 percent response rate; 85 trainees in the United States), the researchers found that 25 percent of U.S. and 53 percent of Canadian trainees received opioid-prescriber education. Only 11 percent of U.S. trainees and 14 percent of Canadian trainees routinely performed preoperative counseling. For seven of eight procedures, U.S. trainees prescribed significantly more oral morphine equivalents compared with Canadian trainees. A higher number of oral morphine equivalents prescribed was independently predicted by residency training in the United States and junior training level.

“The current opioid-prescriber education that plastic surgery trainees receive is not standardized and is likely insufficient,” the authors write. “This represents an opportunity to intervene and impact prescribing practices in our specialty to play our part in curtailing the opioid epidemic in both countries.”