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Journal Article > Commentary
Addressing the opioid epidemic in the United States: lessons from the Department of Veterans Affairs.
Gellad WF, Good CB, Shulkin DJ. JAMA Intern Med. 2017;177:611-612.
Opioid medications are a known safety hazard, and overdoses of opioid medications are considered an epidemic in the United States. This commentary discusses US Veterans Affairs health system initiatives that focus on education, prescription monitoring, pain management, and use of guidelines to reduce risks associated with opioids.
Journal Article > Study
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.
Brennan PL, Del Re AC, Henderson PT, Trafton JA. Transl Behav Med. 2016;6:605-612.
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.