Friday, 11 August 2017 14:11

Opioids- Use, Misuse and Abuse, August 2017

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On an ongoing basis, local and national news are reporting that drug overdoses and opioid deaths are continuing to increase in the United States.  According to The Centers for Disease Control (CDC), a majority of drug overdose deaths (more than six out of 10) involve an opioid.  The number of Americans dying from an opioid overdose is now 91 per day.

An individual typically starts taking prescribed opioids after a fall, surgical procedure or injury to manage pain.  The rate for prescription overdoses is alarming in that it has quadrupled since 1999, yet statistics show that Americans are not reporting more pain.

Common opioid drugs include:

·         Oxycodone

·         Hydrocodone

·         Methadone

·         Fentanyl

Overdoses from prescription opioids are a contributing factor in the last 15 years for the increase in opioid overdose deaths.  It is estimated that opioid misuse and overdose cost our national economy approximately $78 billion from higher healthcare costs (treatment, productivity loss, added criminal justice costs) just in 2013.

The chart below shows four risk areas in opioid abuse and misuse in managing pain:


The CDC has developed guidelines for prescribing opioids for chronic pain for health care providers to follow that include evidence-based recommendations for primary care clinicians that treat patients who have chronic pain and prescribe opioids.  For more information, click on vital signs information on the CDC website.

CDC also created a new program, Prescription Drug Overdose: Data-Driven Prevention Initiative (DDPI) and is awarding $18 million over a three-year project time frame to 13 states and the District of Columbia to assist in efforts to end the opioid overdose epidemic in the U.S.

Michigan is one of the selected states chosen to participate in advancing and evaluating actions to address opioid misuse, abuse, and overdose. That includes increasing the ability to:

  • Enhance data analysis and collection of opioid:
    • Abuse
    • Misuse
    • Overdose
  • Create strategies that can have an impact on behaviors driving prescription opioid dependency abuse
  • Help communities develop more complete opioid overdose prevention programs.

As the opioid epidemic grows, CDC will continue to provide expertise along with resources to address each states’ changes in needs with regards to this crisis. The CDC also has made available patient resource tools to provide educational materials along with patient fact sheets that practices can download.  Health care providers are encouraged to discuss alternative ways to treat chronic pain in the form of nonpharmacologic therapies and nonopioid pharmacologic therapies and treatment.

The Physician Alliance is working with Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan and TPA physicians to increase e-prescribing of controlled substances. The initiative aims to increase the number of controlled substance (DEA schedule II-V) prescriptions submitted electronically by Physician Group Incentive Program (PGIP) physicians.

The benefits of e-prescribing controlled substances include:

  • Improved safety for all stakeholders
  • Reduction of fraud and abuse
  • Improved ability to reach meaningful use criteria (CMS requires 60% of all prescriptions be transmitted electronically)
  • Improved efficiencies and consistencies in practice workflows

E-prescribing of controlled substances requires physicians to present a two-factor authentication to prove their identity as an approved provider. Practices should contact their EMR vendor for specific education and requirements on e-prescribing.

Contributed by The Physician Alliance.

This blog is for informational purposes only and should not be considered medical advice. Please consult your doctor for more information or if you have a medical concern.

Source: Centers for Disease Control-Understanding the epidemic/record overdose deaths, Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services-Opioid Misuse Strategy, Michigan Department of Human Services

Read 1143 times Last modified on Thursday, 17 August 2017 13:58