If not opioids, what?

College of Physicians and Surgeons of Alberta CPSA, Designing Quality Blog

The medical profession was taught that opioids were effective and safe. But they’re less effective and less safe than we thought. They’re also contributing to a health crisis in our communities. Over-prescribing is part of Alberta’s opioid problem. As a profession, physicians need to own that problem, and help fix it.

CPSA recently hosted a unique prescribing forum for invited stakeholders to discuss solutions to the opioid crisis. Forum presenters included physicians, other health professionals and representatives from law enforcement, Alberta Health and Alberta Health Services.

Speakers addressed the broad issue of over-supply of opioids, both legal and illegal, identifying implications for physicians and other health care team members, and looking for opportunities to promote appropriate prescribing.

Discussions resulted in a five-point framework for action:

1. Focus on appropriate prescribing
2. Seek additional emergency (rescue) interventions for patients in crisis
3. Address addiction treatment
4. Explore other options for pain treatment
5. Seek access to more data and information

“I don’t think that I’ve taken from this that we need to take our chronic pain patients and rapidly dial back what they’re taking, what I’m taking from this is that how we need to prevent further addictions from developing in the first place. “Family Physician & Opioid Forum Audience Participant

What do you think should be first? Why? What’s at stake if we don’t?

Join the conversation & share your thoughts below in a comment. 

Work on the framework continues. Bookmark and check back to this page for progress. You are also invited to weigh in on the draft Standard of Practice on Safe Prescribing – out for consultation until December 12, 2016.