Late last week a state task force announced their recommendations for doctor's prescribing opioids to treat pain. They're hoping to cut back on prescription drug and heroin abuse in the commonwealth. The task force hopes these changes will prevent people from getting addicted to prescription drugs in the first place.
Doctor Zane Gates says opiates are the second most addictive drug known to man. He says only a small percentage of people should take them because they can make many problems worse.
The State Drug and Alcohol Program and the State Health Department recommended using other treatments for pain besides opioids. They also want doctors to test patient for signs of addiction, and cut them off if they find them.
Judy Rosser with the Blair County Drug and Alcohol Program is glad to see the state step in where local agencies can't. She says funding for programs like hers have been cut and drug use is a problem in the area.
Dr. Gates says most local doctors are careful with prescriptions, but there is still more work to be done. He wants more resources put into education to stop people from trying those drugs in the first place.
These are voluntary guidelines, but the Pennsylvania Medical Society and the Pennsylvania Chapter of the American College of Emergency Physicians have both agreed to adopt them.
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