CDC provides new tools to fight opioid epidemic

LeShaundra Cordier

CDC recently added several tools and resources to its website to help primary care physicians and other health care providers help their patients who are addicted to opioids.

“The sharp increases and variation in overdoses across states and counties indicates the need for better coordination and readiness for regional or multiple state outbreaks. Having the right data available at the right time can help direct the right resources to the most impacted areas,” LeShaundra Cordier, MPH, of the CDC’s National Center for Injury Prevention and Control’s Division of Unintentional Injury Prevention, told Healio Family Medicine.

The first new tool — an alcohol screening and brief intervention — can be used by clinicians to help people who drink excessively and are receiving opioids for pain relief to help them drink less, or completely stop drinking, she said.

The second new tool is an interactive, online course called ‘Reducing the Risks of Opioids.’

“[With this resource], health care providers will be able to recognize situations that can increase risk for harmful outcomes for patients on opioid therapy with this tool,” Cordier explained in the interview. “It also explains the range of clinical tools that can help in risk assessment and clinical decision-making, including prescription drug monitoring program data and urine drug testing, and has recommendations from the ‘CDC Guideline for Prescribing Opioids for Chronic Pain’ and provides sample scenarios and clinical tools and resources.”

She added that the pivotal role primary care physicians play in fighting the epidemic also includes accessing a patient’s prescription drug history and level of risk by accessing data from their state prescription drug monitoring program and identify mental health, social services, and treatment options to provide appropriate care for patients who have opioid use disorder.

Cordier addressed health care providers hesitant to change long-standing procedures.

CDC recently added several tools and resources to its website to help primary care physicians and other health care providers help their patients who are addicted to opioids.
Source: Shutterstock

 

“We encourage [such medical professionals] to improve prescribing practices, which includes using opioids only when benefits are likely to outweigh risks; starting with the lowest effective dose of immediate-release opioids; prescribing only the number of days that the pain is expected to be severe enough to require opioids in instances of acute pain; and reassessing benefits and risks if considering dose increases.”

“You need to help your patients to understand the risks and benefits of prescription opioids, the benefits of nonopioid treatments, as well as how to safely use, store and dispose of unused prescription opioids,” she added. “You also have a role in addressing substance misuse and substance use disorders, not only by directly providing health care services, but also by promoting prevention strategies.”

Physicians who are not able to provide treatment should refer patients to substance abuse specialists, Cordier said.

As a courtesy to its readers, and as a response to the crisis, Healio recently launched an Opioid Resource Center on its website. This frequently updated collection comprises news and features from multiple medical specialties and provides the latest information on the opioid crisis, including treatment strategies, FDA decisions regarding treatments and other related announcements. – by Janel Miller

For more information:

CDC.gov. “Clinical tools.” https://www.cdc.gov/drugoverdose/prescribing/clinical-tools.html. Accessed March 27, 2018.

CDC.gov. “Alcohol screening and brief intervention.” https://www.cdc.gov/drugoverdose/pdf/prescribing/AlcoholToolFactSheet-508.pdf. Accessed March 27, 2018.

CDC.gov. “Helpful materials for patients.” https://www.cdc.gov/drugoverdose/patients/materials.html. Accessed March 27, 2018.

CDC.gov. “Acute pain resources” https://www.cdc.gov/drugoverdose/patients/materials.html#tabs-2-2. Accessed March 27, 2018.

Disclosure: Cordier works for the CDC.

LeShaundra Cordier

CDC recently added several tools and resources to its website to help primary care physicians and other health care providers help their patients who are addicted to opioids.

“The sharp increases and variation in overdoses across states and counties indicates the need for better coordination and readiness for regional or multiple state outbreaks. Having the right data available at the right time can help direct the right resources to the most impacted areas,” LeShaundra Cordier, MPH, of the CDC’s National Center for Injury Prevention and Control’s Division of Unintentional Injury Prevention, told Healio Family Medicine.

The first new tool — an alcohol screening and brief intervention — can be used by clinicians to help people who drink excessively and are receiving opioids for pain relief to help them drink less, or completely stop drinking, she said.

The second new tool is an interactive, online course called ‘Reducing the Risks of Opioids.’

“[With this resource], health care providers will be able to recognize situations that can increase risk for harmful outcomes for patients on opioid therapy with this tool,” Cordier explained in the interview. “It also explains the range of clinical tools that can help in risk assessment and clinical decision-making, including prescription drug monitoring program data and urine drug testing, and has recommendations from the ‘CDC Guideline for Prescribing Opioids for Chronic Pain’ and provides sample scenarios and clinical tools and resources.”

She added that the pivotal role primary care physicians play in fighting the epidemic also includes accessing a patient’s prescription drug history and level of risk by accessing data from their state prescription drug monitoring program and identify mental health, social services, and treatment options to provide appropriate care for patients who have opioid use disorder.

Cordier addressed health care providers hesitant to change long-standing procedures.

CDC recently added several tools and resources to its website to help primary care physicians and other health care providers help their patients who are addicted to opioids.
Source: Shutterstock

 

“We encourage [such medical professionals] to improve prescribing practices, which includes using opioids only when benefits are likely to outweigh risks; starting with the lowest effective dose of immediate-release opioids; prescribing only the number of days that the pain is expected to be severe enough to require opioids in instances of acute pain; and reassessing benefits and risks if considering dose increases.”

“You need to help your patients to understand the risks and benefits of prescription opioids, the benefits of nonopioid treatments, as well as how to safely use, store and dispose of unused prescription opioids,” she added. “You also have a role in addressing substance misuse and substance use disorders, not only by directly providing health care services, but also by promoting prevention strategies.”

Physicians who are not able to provide treatment should refer patients to substance abuse specialists, Cordier said.

As a courtesy to its readers, and as a response to the crisis, Healio recently launched an Opioid Resource Center on its website. This frequently updated collection comprises news and features from multiple medical specialties and provides the latest information on the opioid crisis, including treatment strategies, FDA decisions regarding treatments and other related announcements. – by Janel Miller

For more information:

CDC.gov. “Clinical tools.” https://www.cdc.gov/drugoverdose/prescribing/clinical-tools.html. Accessed March 27, 2018.

CDC.gov. “Alcohol screening and brief intervention.” https://www.cdc.gov/drugoverdose/pdf/prescribing/AlcoholToolFactSheet-508.pdf. Accessed March 27, 2018.

CDC.gov. “Helpful materials for patients.” https://www.cdc.gov/drugoverdose/patients/materials.html. Accessed March 27, 2018.

CDC.gov. “Acute pain resources” https://www.cdc.gov/drugoverdose/patients/materials.html#tabs-2-2. Accessed March 27, 2018.

Disclosure: Cordier works for the CDC.

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