Drug overdose deaths in 2016 most likely exceeded 59,000, the largest annual jump ever recorded in the United States, according to preliminary data compiled by The New York Times.

The death count is the latest consequence of an escalating public health crisis: opioid addiction, now made more deadly by an influx of illicitly manufactured fentanyl and similar drugs. Drug overdoses are now the leading cause of death among Americans under 50.

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Follow Prescription Advisory

What prescribers can do to safely and effectively use opioids for CNCP (includes the following)

  • Screen for prior or current substance abuse/misuse
  • Do not use concomitant sedative–hypnotics or benzodiazepines
  • Track daily MED using an online dosing calculator
  • Use the state Prescription Drug Monitoring Program to monitor all sources of controlled substances

Neurology, 2014; 83; 1277-1284, September 2014

The AAOS recommends the following tools, which have been shown to significantly reduce medication errors:

  • computerized physician order entry
  • computerized decision support systems
  • computerized monitoring of adverse drug events
  • pharmacist-assisted rounds
  • high-risk drug protocols

Overdose deaths are “just the tip of the iceberg”: that for every death there are many more hospital treatment admissions, emergency room visits, people who abuse or are dependent on prescription drugs and nonmedical users.

American Psychological Association
Prescription Advisory Systems & Technology

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