- Published: Friday, 31 March 2017 09:52
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By Marty Trese, KnoxPages.com Editor
COLUMBUS - State officials came together Thursday to announce new prescribing guidelines for opioids in an effort to help prevent addiction. Dr. Mark Hurst, medical director for Ohio's Department of Mental Health & Addiction Services said that the state has been working for six years to fight opiate abuse. Strides that have been made so far include:
*2.5 milion fewer opiate prescriptions in Ohio
*162 million fewer doses of opiates dispensed
*80% less doctor shopping
*340% increase in Ohio's online prescription monitoring system
Dr. Hurst said the guildelines set the prescribing limit for the first episode of acute pain to a seven day supply for adults and five day supply for patients under 18. Patients and parents for juveniles will have to be advised of the benefits and risks of the medication. The exceptions are for cancer, hospice and MAT (medication assisted treatment for addiction) patients.
Dr. Mary Applegate, medical director for the Ohio Department of Medicaid said these limits are not random. Overprescribing patterns were looked at through OARRS, Ohio's Automated Rx Reporting System. OARRS is a web-based system that collects information on all outpatient prescriptions for controlled substances that are dispensed by Ohio licensed pharmacies and prescribed or personally furnished by licensed prescribers in Ohio.
Dr. Applegate said, "The issue related to opioid related deaths [is that] young people, folks in their early 20's [are dying]. We have an extra focus on not starting that very first prescription which happens for children and adolescents."
"Doctors still need to be able to alleviate pain and suffering, however they have a tighter system of safety in place to guide safe prescribing," said Dr. Applegate.
Governor John Kasich tweeted, "Ohio is a leader in [reining] in opiate prescriptions and we’re going even further today."
Critics of the new guidelines asked on social media about what happens on day eight for those adults needing opioids for chronic pain. While alternatives will need to be sought, the idea expressed at Thursday's announcement was that that these new guidelines are designed to help families and communities throughout the state.