Johnstown, PA – Today, Governor Tom Wolf and medical staff of the Johnstown Tomahawks hockey team joined local leaders at the Cambria County War Memorial Arena to discuss the new prescribing guideline recommendations for the safe and effective use of opioids in orthopedics and sports medicine.
“These guidelines are a crucial piece of my administration’s continued fight against the opioid and heroin abuse crisis,” said Governor Wolf. “In communities across Pennsylvania I have heard the same heartbreaking story – that a young person from a good family, with a great future ahead, got a sports injury and was prescribed too many opioids by a well-meaning doctor. That’s why these new prescribing guidelines are so important for athletes at all levels of competition.”
“In our organization, we consider the players to be more than just athletes; they are also someone’s son who hope to one day play this game at the collegiate or professional level,” said Dan Goncher, Johnstown Tomahawks team medical director. “Every medical decision is made with consideration of both the short and long-term outcomes of their injury. Knowing the country’s growing epidemic of opiate addiction, we use narcotic pain medications for severe injuries only, and for as short a duration as is possible. My practice and I greatly appreciate the opportunity to meet with Governor Wolf and participate in the round table discussion today.”
The Safe Prescribing of Opioids in Orthopedics and Sports Medicine guidelines address the use of opioid pain medication in orthopedics and sports medicine. They are intended to help health care providers improve patient outcomes and to supplement, but not replace, the individual provider’s clinical judgment.
Under Governor Wolf’s leadership, the departments of Health and Drug and Alcohol Programs have convened the Safe and Effective Prescribing Practices Task Force. Membership of the task force includes various state agencies, representatives from medical associations, provider advocates, and community members.
The task force has now developed and adopted guidelines for nine medical specialties on the safe and effective use of opioids in the treatment of pain:
- Emergency Department Pain Treatment Guidelines: To appropriately relieve pain and attempt to identify those who maybe be abusing or addicted to opioid analgesics and refer them for special assistance.
- Opioid Use and Safe Prescribing for Geriatric Pain: To highlight special problems concerning using opioids when treating older adults for chronic non-cancer pain.
- Guidelines on the Use of Opioids to Treat Chronic Non-cancer Pain: To address the use of opioids for the treatment of chronic non-cancer pain. These guidelines do not address the use of opioids for acute pain, nor do they address the use of opioids for the treatment of pain at the end-of-life.
- Guidelines on the Use of Opioids in a Dental Practice: To address the use of opioids for the treatment of acute dental pain.
- Obstetrics and Gynecology Pain Treatment: To address the use of opioids for the treatment of pain in pregnant patients, during and immediately following delivery, and during breastfeeding.
- Opioid Dispensing Guidelines: To focus on several key areas that can impact pharmacists of any practice setting. Focal points include assessing the appropriateness of opioid pain medication at the point of dispensing, recognition of “red flags” on prescriptions as well as high risk medication combinations, available resources for those with a substance use disorder, and methods to prevent diversion from the emergency department.
- Guideline on Use of Addiction Treatment Medications in The Treatment of Pregnant Patients with Opioid Use Disorder: To address treatment for opioid use disorders during pregnancy and is intended to help health care providers improve patient outcomes when caring for these patients.
- Guidelines on Safe Prescribing of Benzodiazepines for Acute Treatment of Anxiety and Insomnia: To address the use of benzodiazepines for the treatment of anxiety and insomnia.
- The Safe Prescribing of Opioids in Orthopedics and Sports Medicine.
If you or someone you know is suffering from the disease of addiction, call 1-800-662-HELP or visit www.pa.gov/opioids for treatment options. For more information on the fight against opioid abuse in Pennsylvania, visit the Department of Health website at www.health.pa.gov or follow us on Facebook and Twitter.