St. Cloud Group Meets to Tackle Opioids Crisis

[MMA News Now, June 26, 2014] Nearly 50 physicians, pharmacists, nurses and community volunteers gathered on June 24 to discuss the prescription opioid crisis in the St. Cloud area at a Stearns Benton Medical Society event called “Bringing our Community Together – Solutions to the Opioid Crisis.”

“It was a very good discussion,” said Patrick Zook, M.D., SBMS president. “The ultimate goal and prime motivation of the group is to develop community guidelines and policies for handling controlled substances..”

As part of the meeting, participants broke into small groups to discuss the problem and how to address it as a community.

St. Cloud area health care workers gathered to discuss potential solutions for the prescription opioids crisis.

The group broke the problem down into several factors: inconsistent diagnosis and treatment, the inability to determine whether a patient is actually in pain, not being able to share records across systems and societal pressure to be 100 percent “pain free.”

The group also discussed possible solutions: work toward consistency in prescribing, encourage the use of the state’s Prescription Monitoring Program, develop then share best practices, create a contract that patients sign vowing not to abuse opioids; and no prescriptions given at the first visit.

The group plans to meet again in August to further develop their policies on the issue.

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