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Perspectives on Opioid Abuse

Date: March 30, 2014

Pain center staff who attended the November 15 PMG Manager Education Day at Galion Community Hospital and December 20 Manager Education Day at Blanchard Valley Hospital heard from several notable speakers.

Ohio State Representative Robert Cole Sprague (R) briefed the group on new state legislation that aims to reduce the number of opioid prescriptions written and creates new pain treatment facilities. Rep. Sprague is a cosponsor of Ohio House Bill 332 (HB332), which would introduce new standards for opioid prescriptions for many patients, including mandatory referral to a pain specialist and alternative pain management treatment options.

Sprague is working with the General Assembly on funding and legislation that would require Ohio counties to offer mental health and addiction services to all county residents regardless of their ability to pay.

Chad Yoakam, Investigator with the State Medical Board of Ohio, advised that patient confidentiality doesn’t apply in an investigation if there is not a valid patient provider relationship (i.e. the patient is doctor shopping). Yoakam gave the group “best practices” on how to deal with a referring physician who they feel are prescribing and/or benefiting from prescribing opiates.

Hancock County, Ohio Prosecutor Mark Miller reported that in 2010, 11 million narcotic pills were prescribed in Ohio–enough for each resident to have 67 pills each. He advised pain management staff to utilize, a website that provides physical descriptions for any type of generic or name brand medication. Miller also shared how the Hancock County, Ohio Alcohol, Drug Addiction and Mental Health Services (ADAMHS) board is combating opiate addiction and other community issues.

Sargent Justin Hendren and Detective David Gonzalez of the METRICH Enforcement Unit shared that in one third of their police stings, a patient is attempting to sell half of his or her valid prescription. Sgt. Hendren warned the group about “pill renting,” a practice becoming prevalent among prescription abusers. Pain center staff is advised to watch for pen marks on capsules, indicating the pills have already been counted and rented to patients for pill counts. Det. Gonzalez commented that there is no such thing as tamper-proof prescription drugs on the market today. METRICH has learned that addicts melt down tamper-proof drugs in the microwave and chew drug patches.

Pain Management Group regularly hosts Manager Education Days at various partner hospitals for partner pain center staff.

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