INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — Indiana leaders are taking another step in fighting the opioid crisis.
They on Wednesday announced new guidelines for dealing with patients who are experiencing pain. The guidelines are specifically for acute pain patients and are in effect at a time when things seemingly couldn’t get any worse.
Hoosiers are dying of drug overdoses in alarming numbers. In fact, they’re more likely to die of a drug overdose than a car accident, according to Indiana’s health commissioner, Dr. Kristina Box.
“It’s very depressing,” Box said. “We’ve had over 7,000 Hoosiers lose their lives to drug overdoses since 2011.”
As some Hoosiers battle addiction, leaders are working to combat it. During a Wednesday news conference, medical and drug prevention experts announced new guidelines for acute pain prescribing.
“Patients were led to believe that they should never experience any pain. Doctors were led to believe that it was OK to use more and more opioids to make sure that they never had pain,” Box said.
Eliminating pain completely isn’t necessarily the goal of the guidelines.
The health commissioner said, “We will get them back to functioning, hopefully to 100 percent function, but that pain may not go away 100 percent. It’s OK to have a little discomfort.”
The Indiana Hospital Association, The Indiana State Medical Association and Indiana’s Health Department came up with the guidelines and these three basic suggestions:
- Assessment and diagnosis of patient.
- Develop a plan.
- Complete relief of pain.
It’s a prescription that Indiana Drug Czar Jim McClelland said he believes will make Indiana healthier.
“They’re going to help us going forward to reduce the extent of the opioid problem in the state,” McClelland said.