New York state to create pilot project aimed at easing opioid use
Legislators in New York approved $500,000 in funding to a launch pilot project that aims to get emergency department doctors to prescribe alterna-
tive treatments for pain to reduce their use of opioids.
The Opioid Alternative Project, initiated by the Iroquois Healthcare Alliance, a trade organization representing 54 hospitals in upstate New York, hopes to improve opioid prescribing practices in emergency departments.
Opioid-related deaths in New York rose by 71% from 2010 to 2015. In upstate New York, opioid-related deaths increased by 23% in 2016 with some areas within the region seeing spikes in deaths of more than 50% compared with the previous year, according to the state Department of Health.
The program was adapted from a model conducted by the Colorado Hospital Association in 2017. Participants there reduced opioid prescribing an average of 36% over six months while increasing prescriptions for alternative pain therapies an average of 31% during the study period.
Between 10 and 15 hospital members of the Iroquois Healthcare Alliance are expected to take part in the pilot, according to Amelia Trigg, communications manager for the alliance, but a list of participants has not been completed. She said the project will run for one year, with the planning phase slated to take approximately six months and then another five months of data collection among the participating EDs to monitor each facility’s progress.