The Pennsylvania departments of Drug and Alcohol Programs and Health, in partnership with the Pennsylvania Medical Society,has announced the adoption of new guidelines for pain treatment to be used in hospital emergency departments statewide.
As part of his plan to reduce prescription drug abuse and overdoses in Pennsylvania, Gov. Tom Corbett directed the departments of Drug and Alcohol Programs (DDAP) and Health (DOH) to establish the Safe and Effective Prescribing Practices and Pain Management Task Force to work toward safer prescribing practices in the state, according to a news release from the state government.
"The task force is doing a tremendous job identifying solutions to combat the escalating prescription opioid abuse epidemic in Pennsylvania," DDAP Secretary Gary Tennis said. "These guidelines will cut down on the number of prescription drugs inappropriately being prescribed to individuals and will reduce over-utilization of emergency rooms for pain relief."
Officials said the Emergency Department Pain Treatment guidelines recommend appropriate treatment to relieve pain and to identify individuals who may be abusing or are addicted to prescription opioid drugs so that they can be referred to treatment.
"Education and action among the emergency health community and the residents of Pennsylvania is a key component to addressing opioid drug problems," Physician General Dr. Carrie DeLone said. "These guidelines will help doctors break the deadly cycle of the unlawful obtaining of prescription drugs."
"These guidelines are the next steps in fighting prescription drug abuse in Pennsylvania. Let's not stop there. More work can be done and needs to be done in our battle against misuse and abuse of prescription drugs," Pennsylvania Medical Society and Philadelphia County Medical Society member, Dr. Ted Christopher, said.
The Emergency Department Pain Treatment guidelines were developed by the Pennsylvania College of Emergency Physicians and presented to Corbett's Safe and Effective Prescribing Practices and Pain Management Task Force on July 29.
Officials said the goal of the task force is to review prescribing practices and identifying guidelines to promote safer and more effective pain management by health care providers. In addition, it is working to ensure prescribers and dispensers are able to identify drug abuse and addiction problems in their patients in order to refer them for drug and alcohol assessment and for the appropriate level of treatment.
The task force includes representation from health care professionals, associations and regulatory agencies.
Last month, the group established and released guidelines on the Use of Opioids to Treat Chronic Noncancer pain.
The Pennsylvania Guidelines can be viewed online.