Oregon Turns Its Attention to Opioids for Acute Care

Oregon Turns Its Attention to Opioids for Acute Care

By Ed Coghlan.

The Oregon Health Authority has issued opioid prescribing guidelines for acute pain patients not currently using opioids.

The guidelines are aimed at patients receiving care from dentists, emergency room and primary care physicians as well as some post procedure/surgical care.

The OHA has been in the news this year for recommending policy that would force taper Medicaid patients off opioids in one year, a recommendation that has received considerable criticism from the chronic pain community and many providers who treat them.

The Oregon Acute Opioid Prescribing Guidelines are not designed to impact pain therapy for cancer patients, palliative care or end of life considerations.

The OHA document cites there has been a “30% reduction in opioid prescribing in Oregon since 2012 and yet prescribing rates remain high”, indicating that 20% of all Oregon residents received at least one opioid prescription in 2017.

According to the report, “opioids should NOT be considered as first line therapy for mild to moderate pain. Mild to moderate pain can often be treated without opioids by recommending over-the-counter medications, and physical treatments such as ice and immobilization. If non-opioid interventions are ineffective and opioids are appropriate, prescribe the lowest effective dose of short-acting opioids for less than 3 days; incases of more severe acute pain, limit initial prescription to less than 7 days.

These guidelines would reduce the number of opioid pills in “circulation”.

“While opioids are effective medications in acute pain management, many people do not use all of the pills that are prescribed by their doctors after an acute event,” said Katrina Hedberg, MD, state health officer at OHA. “What this tells us is that patients may not need as many pills as we think, and other forms of pain management may be safer and just as effective. It also tells us that there are many excess pills sitting in medicine cabinets, which could be misused or stolen.”

For National Pain Report coverage on the forced taper proposal, click here.

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Authored by: Ed Coghlan

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David Horton

Well as usual these practicing doctor are doing just that practicing on on us. These guys don’t know a thing about our bodies. They just think they do. They only got one thing in mind getting out of there getting to their cheesecake or their beer or their golf or whatever the hell makes Crazy habit got. Don’t forget one of those things are interested in Billing [edit]. Very typical white collar . You spend too much time behind a desk you lose your Humanity they don’t listen move at the speed of old grandma.

William Dorn

Allow chronic pain patients the medicines they need and put the hammer down on illegal drugs and this problem would be over. Is that to much for the government to handle.

Jackie Bennett

This is one of the most asinine anti opioid articles I’ve read.
Their logic will prove to be grossly disastrous.
It’s insulting that we’re expected to accept their garbage theory that “patients (might not) take all of their medication, paving the way for drug diversion.”
Here’s a concept …
Since the (3rd leading cause of preventable deaths) in the United States is none other than Hospital/Medical Errors (which far surpasses erroneously reported opioid related deaths) -perhaps there should be more focus in that direction? Just an idea. Then again, the folks responsible for up to 600,000 preventable deaths each year are the same folks deciding whether we’re worthy of pain relief (or not), so it’s probably fine.

Michelle woods

I live everyday in pain and have had quality of live to take my medication so I can’t walk or get out of bed and to take that little bit of quality of life away to take care of my family go for walk I’d say there will be a bigger epidemic called suicide that our government will have on there hands people in pain don’t deserve to be treated as criminals beacause of the bigger problem heroin that our government don’t know how to really handle so there taking it out on pain patients if the rolls were reversed do u think any of our state legislators would suffer in pain no there going after Medicare Medicade patients that wrong sham on u


How dare the OHA assume that the pills will be misaproproated from my medicine cabinet!

Marjorie Booker

So they still did not address the chronic pain sufferers. The severly injured person with permanent pain or persons with painful diseases. This is still a sham. It disgusts me that intelligent human beings are not listening to the doctors who treat us. The tax paying individuals that a simple 10mg percocet ( soon to be 3 times )4 times in 24hrs allows me to work and a miilion plus others as well. We are the most monitired and tested people on the planet.
Common legislatures you better start taking a more complete look at things!

Susan Simpson

Idiots! never say you got cancer, see your oncologist! oncologist: i treat cancer see pain doctor: pain doc: DEA! DEA! SUBOXONE! Bunch of [edit]! Even when hospice was in home-care fighting for me pain med: DENIED! OUR GOVERNMENT LIES!!!!!!!!!!!!


Isn’t it funny that the state who “is most humane” with the death with dignity act causes so much pain for patients with stable and permanent injuries that cannot ever be less painful?


Hello my strong & beautiful CPP family,
I broke my foot last night from dropping 12 porcelain tiles one by one on my feet as the box broke sitting ontop of my trunk, as they landed the long way 2 the thin side edge landing on my feet w sandals on. I have CRPS TYPE 1& 2 W DYSTONIA. Called my pain clinic told to ge immediately in so a flare didn’t start. Woke up toes are white, so swollen and the pain is horrible m I missed my birthday celebrations. I rather stay home w a broken foot than go to the hospital and be accused of purposely doing it to myself t get meds or being profiled and called a drug seeker. Pretty and disgusting that I have to choose. Take care everyone and blessed day!!

Carol Davison

I can’t believe the stupidity of our government insisting to tell us how our pain is to be managed. I’d bet a dollar to a penny none of them has any idea of what “chronic pain” feels like.
It seems to me “our government ” is blaming the opioid epidemic on us! Fact is if they tried to take control of the problem 30 years ago and set up affordable treatment centers and counseling it wouldn’t have reached this point. Let’s remember please the Drug Dealers that bring this stuff into this country. I guess it’s easier and less expensive to attack those of us with a legitimate need. November 6th is almost here.

Kevin james

If these [edit] had to go thru the pain that i suffer with 24/7 from severe dibitating spinal injuries they would throw in the towel. Ive gone thru all the [edit] therapy plus the gargage sold over the counter. All there doing is playing dr. Just like these pharacists who act like they are the doctors. Just totally fed up. Keep you meds locked up and us sufferers wont have to deal with this [edit].

Mona Mallory

This is what they did in Nevada and my last two dental visits, resulted in me losing a couple of weeks of work and suffering terrible pain. I badly need my teeth fixed, but going back to the dentist is the last thing I want to do. This is so messed up!


So, what is it? Opiods are so addictive that if your physician prescribes them and you take what’s needed to relieve the pain, your bound to become an addict, or, you take what’s needed and leave the remainder in the cabinet because you haven’t become an addict of them? Their “WAR ON DRUGS” over the past 6 decades has so miserably failed, they are now using the chronic pain community as the scapegoat for their own failed policy of drug enforcement. Use us to turn the political spotlight back on themselves, because, of course, legal prescription holders who suffer from undeniable pain without them are obviously the group responsible for the mass proliferation of the opiod crisis. See me, I’m fighting this epidemic with “common sense legislation”. It’s way past time for the entire chronic pain community to call [edit]. Used properly, opioids save lives. I know they saved mine. I’m still alive, and should this legislation affect my treatment, that may have to change. I’ve tried all of the alternative therapists as a 24 year veteran of chronic pain, and this is what works.