Safety

New Jersey ER is first in U.S. to end use of opioid painkillers

Hospital Safety Insider, March 31, 2016

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A Paterson, New Jersey, hospital has implemented a program that will attempt to manage patients' pain in the ER without the use of opioid painkillers, becoming the first U.S. hospital to do so, according to a March 28 report from WPIX-TV.

Like many hospital ERs, St. Joseph's Regional Medical Center frequently treated patients with opioid drugs such as oxycodone, Vicodin, and Percocet-highly effective, yet very addictive. In many cases, a prescription leads to addiction and a growing problem of how to deal with patients addicted to heroin and other opioids.

According to CDC statistics in the WPIX report, more people died from drug overdoses in 2014 than in any year on record, beating out deaths caused by car crashes and guns. The ER at St. Joseph's Emergency Department, one of the busiest in the nation, has already treated more than 250 patients with alternative medicine or treatments who would have otherwise received opioids. Although opioids will still be used to treat chronic pain, they will no longer be the first line of treatment.

Read more here.



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