No Joke: N.J. Hospital Uses Laughing Gas To Cut Down On Opioid Use

From NPR:

There’s a new tool for battling the opioid epidemic, compressed inside long, metal tanks at an emergency room in Paterson, N.J.

It’s laughing gas, also known as nitrous oxide.

If you think this is a joke, spend a few hours with Alexis LaPietra, medical director of pain management at St. Joseph’s Regional Medical Center’s emergency department. She’s developed an opioid-alternative program that’s trying out unusual ways to help patients through their pain without using prescription painkillers in the ER, where the road to addiction began for many patients.

“What we’ve been doing before didn’t have the best results,” LaPietra says. “Let’s try a different way besides pills, which I know are easy to take. But they have risks.”

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