Hoosier health leaders introduce acute pain prescribing guidelines to combat state opioid crisis

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In response to the financial burden created by the opioid epidemic, the city of Gary filed a lawsuit against manufacturers and distributors of opioids.

Leaders from the Indiana Hospital Association (IHA), the Indiana State Medical Association (ISMA) and the Indiana State Department of Health (ISDH) recently announced the development of new prescribing guidelines for the outpatient management of acute pain. The three organizations collaborated on the new guidelines as part of their ongoing efforts to battle the opioid epidemic in Indiana.

“Providing doctors with these additional guidelines to use when prescribing opioids is a step toward reducing the impact of opioid ad- diction in Indiana,” said Dr. Kris Box, Indiana State Health Commissioner. “Our hope is that these guidelines will help physicians manage patients’ pain responsibly and encourage both doctors and patients to explore pain-management options that do not include the use of highly addictive opioids.”

The Indiana Prescribing Guidelines for the Management of Acute Pain provide a general approach to addressing acute pain without supplanting the clinical judgment of prescribers. The guidelines recognize that each patient’s needs are unique and serve as a complement to the Indiana Guidelines for Opioid Prescribing in the Emergency Department and the Indiana Chronic Pain Management Prescribing Rule.

“ISMA is committed to implementing solutions to combat Indiana’s opioid crisis,” said Dr. John McGoff, President, Indiana State Medical Association. “We have partnered on these guidelines to help providers manage pain while reducing the risk of dependency or overdose in the future.”

Death by drug overdose has increased in Indiana by 500 percent since 1999. Today, Hoosiers are more likely to die due to drug overdose than in a car accident. Opioid abuse also takes a toll on the health of Indiana’s economy, ultimately costing the state $1.5 billion each year due to increased health care costs, lost productivity, criminal justice costs and premature death.

“Opioids are negatively impacting our workforce, families, and communities across the state,” said Brian Tabor, president of IHA. “Hospitals are committed to long-term solutions such as expanding treatment options and removing the stigma of substance abuse. These guidelines are a critical step in ensuring that fewer Hoosiers develop an opioid addiction in the first place.”

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