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The Fight Against the Opioid Crisis

Posted by Johnson Memorial Health on Nov 1, 2019

Blog-OpioidsOpioids are powerful pain killers that can be highly addictive and dangerous. Opioids include illicit drugs such as heroin and carfentanil as well as prescription medications used to treat pain such as Vicodin, morphine, codeine, oxycodone, hydrocodone, and fentanyl.

Whether the opioid is prescribed by a doctor or acquired illegally, these drugs can cause serious changes to the brain and body.

Continued use and misuse can lead to physical dependence and withdrawal symptoms. And after a while, people must take opioids to avoid the physical withdrawal symptoms. 

Although some damage can occur with short-term drug use, the most extreme changes to the brain and body typically occur with long-term use and misuse of opioid painkillers.

The Epidemic

The data shows that the opioid epidemic is greatly impacting Indiana. Many people who struggle with opioid dependency face many obstacles that prevent them from seeking treatment. JMH Physician Network takes this crisis seriously and has developed a system wide policy on prescribing opioids to our patients.

In general, our providers do not provide long term pain management with opioids and will only provide opioids for acute conditions if appropriate. Our providers will prescribe these medications using guidelines from the CDC, Indiana Professional Licensing Board, Indiana State Department of Health, Indiana State Medical Society, and the Indiana State Hospital Association.

Indiana law requires that physicians verify the patient’s controlled substance prescription history through a HIPAA protected statewide database called INSPECT prior to prescribing opioids. Due to Indiana law, new opioid prescriptions for acute pain are limited to a seven day supply.

The Requirements

If pain medication is prescribed for chronic pain, some requirements include:

  • Frequent office visits
  • Prescriptions are provided only at the time of appointment
  • Random drug screens
  • Controlled substance agreement
  • Objective Pain Scale
  • Mental health screen
  • Opioid abuse risk assessment

Even if a prescription is written for you, your prescription insurance may not approve the amount of medication prescribed to you.  Your insurance carrier may not feel it is medically necessary. Your insurance plan might not have the prescribed medication on their formulary. Your insurance carrier may require a preauthorization before your prescription is filled. 

Johnson Memorial Health pledges to join the fight to break the opioid epidemic.