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Safe Med LA Recommendations for Safe Opioid Prescribing

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The following article was modified from the original. To see the full article, including citations, view it here in the May 2019 issue of  Rx for Prevention, the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health’s online publication for practicing in LA County. 

Health care professionals play a vital role in disrupting the trend of opioid addiction and overdose by adopting safe prescribing practices for opioids. Safe Med LA, a countywide coalition working to reduce prescription drug abuse and overdose deaths in Los Angeles County, developed recommendations for safe opioid prescribing. These recommendations are based on guidelines from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and Kaiser Permanente, and input from additional subject matter experts, and have been endorsed by the California Society for Addiction Medicine (CSAM).

Broadly, the Recommendations for Safe Opioid Prescribing are organized in 6 focus areas (see below) and highlight best practices related to management of acute pain, risk mitigation strategies for opioid prescribing related to dosing and formulation, and indications for naloxone co-administration and medications for addiction treatment. The recommendations further outline resources on patient-provider treatment agreements and safe drug storage and disposal to minimize drug diversion.

Recommendations for Safe Opioid Prescribing Focus Areas

  1. Safe Opioid Prescribing
  2. Avoid Escalating Opioid Doses
  3. Avoid Dangerous Medication Combinations
  4. Safe Tapering Practices
  5. Concurrent Drug and Alcohol Use
  6. Opioid Use Disorder and Medications for Addiction Treatment
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