January 14, 2016 – Cutting Back


Anchor lead: Will federal guidelines for opioid prescription help? Elizabeth Tracey reports

The CDC has developed a draft document for docs who prescribe opioid drugs, with an eye toward reducing the staggering number of deaths related to their use.  Eric Strain, a drug abuse expert at Johns Hopkins, says for now, he would give another message.

Strain: I think I would say let’s be really cautious about the use of opioids. The pendulum obviously is swinging back from liberal use and that’s a good thing.  There are side effects to these medicines and there are risks to use.  The longer a person is on them, the higher the dose that they’re on, to developing an abuse and dependence upon these drugs.  :22

Strain says scrutinizing prescribing patterns may also have an impact.

Strain: Identifying providers who either have high volumes of opioid prescribing or are showing other evidence of risky opioid prescribing, for example, coprescribing with benzodiazipines, and targeting things for those prescribers would be a really good step forward.  :16

At Johns Hopkins, I’m Elizabeth Tracey.