Safe Prescribing Practices Save Lives

As Opioid Use Disorders (OUD) may develop as a result of being treated for an acute or chronic pain problem, it’s important that medical prescribers use caution when prescribing narcotic painkillers (opioids).  Following are safe prescribing resources that can be used to help minimize new OUD initiations.  

Resources for Prescribers

CDC Guideline for Prescribing Opioids for Chronic Pain

The CDC developed and published the CDC Guideline for Prescribing Opioids for Chronic Pain to provide recommendations for the prescribing of opioid pain medication for patients 18 and older in primary care settings. Recommendations focus on the use of opioids in treating chronic pain (pain lasting longer than 3 months or past the time of normal tissue healing) outside of active cancer treatment, palliative care, and end-of-life care.

CDPH Resources for Opioid Prescribers

The California Department of Public Health’s list of resources includes: their prescription drug monitoring program, treatment services locators, clinician tools and more. Click the link above to view the complete list. 

East Bay Safe Prescribing Coalition Guidelines

The East Bay Safe Prescribing Coalition is a collaborative effort by the East Bay medical community, consumers and community leaders to promote safe and appropriate prescribing practices and reduce prescription drug abuse in our community. View the coalition’s Prescribing Guidelines here

Monitoring Prescribing Rates

There were 641,374 prescriptions for opioids in Contra Costa in 2018 (excluding buprenorphine, a treatment drug). The annual prescribing rate during that period was 614.1 per 1,000 residents. This represents a 9% decrease in prescribing from 2017 to 2018. The following chart presents the opioid prescribing rate from 2008 to 2018.

Data shows that as the number of prescription opioid sales increased, deaths, and substance-abuse treatment admissions increased. In order to decrease the number of opioid related overdose deaths, its important that the rate of opioid prescribing must continue to be reduced.

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