Healthcare system-wide implementation of opioid-safety guideline recommendations: the case of urine drug screening and opioid-patient suicide- and overdose-related events in the Veterans Health Administration.
Opioids are considered high-risk medications and overdoses are common. Guidelines have been developed to facilitate safe prescribing practices. This study across 141 facilities within the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) health system demonstrated that as adherence to urine drug screening guidelines increased from 2010 to 2013, the risk of suicide and overdose events among VA patients receiving prescription opioids decreased over the same period. The authors conclude that opioid therapy guidelines may have a positive impact on patient safety.