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New Guidelines For Clinicians Prescribing Painkillers

Overdoses driven largely by painkiller addictions have surpassed car crashes as the leading cause of accidental death in Ohio. Now clinicians are being asked to help curb prescription painkiller abuse. Ohio Public Radio's Andy Chow reports.

The state has created new guidelines when it comes to prescribing opioids. A coalition of groups, which includes Ohio’s health-related departments, says a Morphine Equivalent Daily Dose of 80 milligrams should be the trigger for prescribers to take pause and reevaluate long-term pain management plans.

The state says these guidelines are in response to the alarming amount of lethal drug overdoses. In 2011, more than 1,700 Ohioans died of an overdose, that’s about 5 a day.

These guidelines are recommendations which will not be enforced. However, Kim Anderson with the State Medical Board says officials will keep track of what happens next.

Anderson: “We are going to be collecting information about the prescribing patterns and the impact that the education—the focused education and the guidelines have on prescribing habits.”

The new guidelines cover a number of areas, including what a prescriber should consider when treating different kinds of pain.

Jim has been with WCBE since 1996. Before that he worked as a reporter at another Columbus radio station, and for three newspapers in Southwest Florida.
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