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Journal Article > Study
Jalal H, Buchanich JM, Roberts MS, Balmert LC, Zhang K, Burke DS. Science. 2018;361:1184.
Opioid overdose deaths remain a threat to patient safety. Information about how overdose deaths are nationally distributed is critical to inform prevention efforts. This robust analysis examined all drug overdose deaths in the United States over a 38-year period. Drug overdoses began increasing exponentially long before the opioid prescribing boom in the mid-1990s and continue to rise in this way. Demographically distinct subepidemics of prescription opioid, synthetic opioid, and stimulant use all contribute to drug overdose deaths as a whole. The authors speculate about what factors other than opioid prescribing might drive escalating substance use-related deaths. An Annual Perspective and a PSNet perspective provide further insights into how safety efforts can reduce opioid-related harm.
Journal Article > Study
Chen Q, Larochelle MR, Weaver DT, et al. JAMA Netw Open. 2019;2:e187621.
Reducing opioid-related harm is a major patient safety priority. This simulation study used a mathematical model to predict the effect of existing opioid misuse interventions on opioid overdose mortality. The researchers compared the expected decline based on the current trend over time versus the effect of a 50% faster reduction in misuse. Their calculations suggest that interventions such as prescription drug monitoring programs and insurance coverage changes will result in only a small absolute decrease in opioid overdose deaths. The authors call for developing and testing other strategies for opioid safety. An Annual Perspective discussed the extent of harm associated with opioid prescribing and described promising practices to address opioid misuse.
Jha AK, Iliff AR, Chaoui AA, Defossez S, Bombaugh MC, Miller YA. Waltham, MA: Massachusetts Medical Society, Massachusetts Health and Hospital Association, Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, and Harvard Global Health Institute; 2019.
Clinician well-being affects the safety of the care environment. This publication suggests that the ramifications of physician burnout are a public health concern. The report provides an overview of the burnout crisis and recommends strategies to address the problem, including mental health initiatives, electronic health record enhancements, and appointment of chief wellness officers.