OOA Endorses Opiate Guidelines for Acute Care Settings

OOA President John F. Ramey, DO was in Columbus today (May 7, 2012) as Gov. John R. Kasich and representatives from the Governor’s Cabinet Opiate Action Team (GCOAT) announced the establishment of Statewide Guidelines for Prescribing Opioids and Other Controlled Substances (OOCS) in Emergency Departments and Acute Care Facilities.

The announcement was made during the afternoon kickoff of Ohio’s 2012 Opiate Summit at the Hyatt Regency, with more than 250 health care professionals in attendance. 

The set of guidelines are the product of months of work by a subgroup of the opiate action team, led by the Ohio Departments of Aging and Health. Nine statewide organizations, including the Ohio Osteopathic Association, endorsed the guidelines as part of an effort to stop the prescription drug abuse epidemic in Ohio.

Opiate SummitDOs participating in the development of the guidelines included Maury L. Witkoff, DO; Heath A. Jolliff, DO, Aaron Adams, DO; Cleanne Cass, DO; and Michael V. Bourne, DO.

 In 2007, drug overdose became the leading cause of injury death in Ohio, surpassing motor vehicle crashes for the first time on record. This trend continued through 2010 when unintentional drug overdoses rose to their highest levels by claiming the lives of 1,544 Ohioans.

OOA President John F. Ramey, DO, Maury L. Witkoff, DO and Cynthia Kelley, DO, pose during the 2012 Opiate Summit in Columbus.


Emergency Departments (ED) are a major source of opiate prescriptions in the US, accounting for 39 percent of all opioids prescribed, administered or continued. Nationally, opioid prescribing for pain-related ED visits increased from 23 percent in 1993 to 37 percent in 2005. In Ohio, 16 percent of fatal overdose victims in 2008 had a history of “doctor shopping” (filled prescriptions from at least five different prescribers in a year).

 The OOCS guidelines include a general approach to prescribing but are not intended to take the place of clinical judgment, which should always be used to provide appropriate care. The set of guidelines include reminders to clinicians on what drugs to avoid routinely prescribing, as well as points to consider when making a determination on treatment options. In addition, companion guidelines were established to educate patients on these new pain management policies for acute care facilities.

“Prescription drug overdose deaths continue to be a public health crisis in Ohio,” said state health department director Dr. Ted Wymyslo. “Today we are arming doctors and patients with important guidelines to protect the welfare of the public while still providing crucial pain medications to those in need.”

Other organizations, in addition to the OOA, that participated in the development of the guidelines and also endorsed them are: Ohio State Medical Association, Ohio Chapter American College of Emergency Physicians, Ohio Hospital Association, Ohio Pharmacists Association, Urgent Care College of Physicians, Ohio Bureau of Workers Compensation, Ohio Physician Assistants Association; and Ohio Association of Health Plans.

 Read more about the guidelines here: http://www.healthyohioprogram.org/ed/guidelines.aspx

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