9 ways anesthesia providers can fight the opioid epidemic

The opioid epidemic is a true crisis that anesthesia groups are uniquely positioned to address and reverse, according to Tony Mira, Anesthesia Business Consultants president and CEO.

Nine strategies to mitigate opioid addiction:

1. Counsel patients on the importance of strictly adhering to postoperative pain management instructions.

2. Educate patients about the opioid epidemic and the risks they face.

3. Document patient counseling efforts and give that documentation to hospital administrators.

4. Give patients guidance on safe drug disposal.

5. Develop and implement goals, measures and follow-up protocols related to postoperative medication management.

6. Cooperate with hospital administration on efforts to avoid postoperative dependency.

7. Limit the number of opioids a patient is given during the perioperative and postoperative periods.

8. Consider using neuraxial and peripheral blocks/infusions to reduce patients' risk of opioid addiction.

9. Meet regularly with chronic pain management physicians to review their prescribing protocols and adherence to state and federal guidelines.

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