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CDC launches online training series to help physicians use opioid prescription guidelines

An increasing number of Americans are succumbing to opioid overdose. The addictive effects of opioids coupled with the tolerance developed to the drug often lead to overdose, hospitalizations and even deaths. Millions of Americans continue to misuse and abuse opioids despite frequent warnings by the federal agencies about the dangers of opioid abuse. According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), roughly 60 percent of drug overdose cases involve an opioid. The report also said that opioid overdose, including prescription medicines and heroin, led to over 33,000 deaths in 2015 alone.

To check the increasing number of opioid prescriptions for pain management, on April 18, 2017, the CDC unveiled a new online training series to assist clinicians in applying the opioid prescribing guidelines for adults complaining of critical and prolonged pain. The first module gives a general review of the recommendations. The guidelines suggested measures for primary care physicians who recommend opioids as a pain management measure for patients other than those of active cancer, sedative effects and end-of-life care. The major points of the guidelines are:

  • When to commence or continue opioids for chronic pain
  • Selection of opioids, frequency of use, extent of use, follow-up and discontinuity
  • Evaluation of potential risk and including details about harms of opioid use

The other modules that would be released later would include:

  • Communication with patients: Clinicians or providers will be educated about communication plans they can use while treating chronic pain, including motivational interviewing
  • Treatment of prolonged pain sans opioids: The providers will have access to an alternative vision for treatment of chronic pain, thus, lending them the tools they need to use options akin to non-opioid use
  • Deciding whether to prescribe: The opioid prescribers will be taught about mechanisms that would help them decide whether or not to advise opioid use other than consequent steps or alternative treatment options for both the courses of action
  • Deciding the dosage, frequency and tenure of opioids: While prescribing opioids, clinicians need to be informed about the correct dosage of opioids and reduce the same to minimum frequency to lower potential risk of opioid abuse. The details in the module provide information about the same
  • Employing strategies aimed at diminishing opioid abuse: The clinicians will learn the best risk alleviation methods and when to implement them after recommending an opioid
  • Evaluating and addressing opioid use disorder: The module details methods that clinicians can execute for examining and addressing an opioid use disorder, when suspected
  • Implementation of CDC guidelines: Policies and programs for implementing the CDC guidelines for advising opioids for chronic pain while stressing on necessary measures to gain control over common barriers to guideline implementation.

The CDC in April 2017 also decided on scared-straight-style campaign warning against the perils of the current opioid epidemic. The CDC rolled out a series of advertisements at a national summit in Atlanta on prescription drug and heroin use. Through its ads, the CDC targeted Ohio, Oregon, Rhode Island and West Virginia this year, while it plans to launch a second round of ads in Ohio, Massachusetts, New Mexico and Kentucky the coming year.

Road to recovery

Prior studies by the CDC had revealed how opioid prescriptions for more than five days raised the likelihood of being hooked to pain relievers both one and three years after. As per the CDC, roughly 25 percent people using opioids for non-cancer pain get dependent on their use. If you or your loved one is battling an addiction, get in touch with Sovereign Health for our state-of-the-art addiction rehab centers spread across the U.S. Call at our 24/7 helpline number 855-683-9756 or chat online for expert advice about the best substance abuse treatment centers in your vicinity.