About 17% of emergency room patients nationwide are given a prescription for highly addictive opiates when being discharged, according to national studies — and prescription medicines are responsible for most new opioid addictions.
The Murphy administration announced Friday it is expanding the Opioid Reduction Option program (ORO) that aims to reduce the amount of opioids given to patients in emergency rooms and prescribed to them when they’re discharged.
The Department of Human Services announced $1,125,000 in grants, available to approximately 12 health care facilities to help develop and implement practices to reduce unnecessary opioid use. The department awarded a total of $1.79 million to 11 hospitals in April 2019.
The program focuses on using evidenced-based practices to reduce the prescribing of opioids and instead use alternative prescriptions, therapies, or procedures to deal with acute and/or chronic pain. There are two tiers in the program. Hospitals participating in the Gold Tier aim to reduce opioid prescriptions by 10% or develop, implement, and annually update evidence-based protocols; develop partnerships with community organizations to connect individuals to peer support and treatment; and develop protocols to implement medication assisted treatment to individuals who have an opioid use disorder. For hospitals participating in the Silver Tier, the goal is to reduce opioid prescriptions by 5%.