ER doctors working to address opioid addiction

From the Register-Herald:

Long-term opioid use oftentimes begins with a trip to the emergency room for acute pain, but prescriptions written by ER physicians account for only 5 percent of all opiates in the U.S.

“No physicians see the scourge of opiate addiction more than emergency physicians do,” said Dr. Rebecca Parker, president of the American College of Emergency Physicians. “We treat the overdoses and witness the deaths; it is tragic.”

Parker said although ER physicians write only a small percentage of the opioids in the nation, ER doctors are taking the lead on addressing the problem.

She said between 2007 and 2012, emergency medicine saw the largest percentage drop in opioid prescribing rates. She also said only 17 percent of emergency patients leave the ER with an opiate prescription, according to the American Journal of Preventative Medicine.

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