Learning to say no: Hospitals train emergency doctors to resist prescribing opioids

From STAT:

Emergency departments, in particular, feel a heavy responsibility to take action: Collectively, they’re one of the top prescribers of opioids nationwide, behind family and internal medicine practices.

And so, this month in eastern Mississippi, Baptist Memorial Hospital-Golden Triangle began limiting opioid pain medication only to patients in the most acute pain. St. Joseph’s Regional Medical Center in New Jersey, which has one of the nation’s biggest emergency departments, is pushing to replace opioids whenever possible with less addictive treatments, like nerve blocks to dull pain. The center has even hired a harpist to fill the noisy halls with calmer notes.

It’s all part of a push “to stem the tide of the opioid epidemic,” said Dr. Jay Bhatt, chief medical officer of the American Hospital Association.

But it’s not always easy.

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