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HealthJune 07, 2021

Slowing the opioid crisis begins in the hospital

Health systems can play a critical role in the response to the opioid epidemic. Because many patients are first exposed to opioids when they are in the hospital, limiting opioid prescribing in that setting can help gradually curb community use. Although opioids have been the first-line of treatment for moderate to severe pain in acute care, new data indicate that non-opioid drugs and non-drug treatment modalities can often manage pain effectively after surgeries and procedures with fewer adverse effects or, at least, reduce the amount and duration of opioids needed. 

Opioid use and prescribing in the hospital are only a part of this problem, but it’s a facet that we can begin controlling better today. While The Joint Commission has made implementation of an opioid stewardship program part of its current pain standards, one study shows only 23% of hospitals have an opioid stewardship program (OSP) in place. In most cases, these programs are heavily focused on outpatient treatment areas and emergency departments. This article review steps hospital can take to begin implementing these changes in their facilities. 
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Rich Dion PharmD
Pharmacy Clinical Program Manager

Dr. Richard Dion has 15 years of experience in the practice areas of medication use safety, pharmacy informatics and clinical decision support in varied settings.

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