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    How one doctor battles opioid abuse in his practice

     

    In an effort to battle abuse in my practice, I decided to start by instituting very strict guidelines in prescribing and managing opioids. My patients are required to sign a controlled substance contract, where I outline what I plan to prescribe them. I require these patients to undergo random drug screens and pill counts, and I complete an Ohio Automated Rx Reporting System report to track each controlled substance prescription.

     

    RELATED READING: Risk management lessons from an opioid trial

     

    Patients must show up for screening and counts. Failure to comply results in dismissal from the practice.  As a result of these requirements, I have an extremely low percentage of my patients taking opioids. 

    In the grand scheme of things, what I do in my practice may seem insignificant when faced with the scope of the problem across this great nation. However, to quote General Creighton Williams Abrams Jr., who commanded the U.S. military in the Vietnam War, “when eating an elephant take one bite at a time.”  

     

    MORE OPIOID COVERAGE: Pain is not the fifth vital sign

     

    What are you doing in your community or practice?  

     

    George G. Ellis, Jr., MD, is an internist practicing in Youngstown, Ohio, and the chief medical adviser for Medical Economics. How are you helping patients deal with opioid issues?
    Tell us at [email protected]

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