MINNEAPOLIS - A new effort in the fight against opioid addiction is underway. On Friday, a group of experts including members of the healthcare community and law enforcement unveiled new guidelines for prescribing opioids.
"In 2016, physicians wrote 47 opioid prescriptions for every 100 Minnesotans," said DHS Commissioner Emily Piper.
Last year, 376 Minnesotans died from opioid overdoses. A 12 percent increase from the previous year.
"This is a crisis hurting people in every corner of our state, from every walk of life," said Lt. Governor Tina Smith.
The new guidelines reflect three broad values:
- Prescribe the lowest effective dose and duration of opioids when used for acute pain.
- Monitor the patient closely during the post-acute pain period.
- Avoid initiating chronic opioid therapy and carefully manage any patient who remains on opioid medication.
Doctor Chris Johnson of Allina Health says, for far too long, Minnesota's health care community has not addressed pain management in a comprehensive manner.
"Chronic pain is a very complex emotional experience that proceeds from the entire context of the patient's life," he said. Others added this is only the beginning as to how the state will combat the crisis.
As of now, Minnesota is the fifth-lowest state in the nation when it comes to prescribing opioids.