New guidelines issued in Indiana for those prescribing opioids to treat acute pain

INDIANAPOLIS -- The Indiana State Department of Health, Indiana Hospital Association and Indiana State Medical Association have developed a new set of guidelines to follow when prescribing opioids to treat acute pain.

Acute pain is the type that comes from an injury that's expected to heal in less than 12 weeks, like a torn Achilles tendon.

The organizations say prescribers should conduct a thorough patient screening, including a family history of substance abuse.

Alternate treatments are also to be considered first, like massage therapy, ice or heat in conjunction with Tylenol.

The guidelines would reserve opioids for managing the pain from severe injuries or major surgeries, and prescribing the lowest effective dose and only the amount needed for the expected duration.

"The opioid epidemic is impacting every corner of our state. It doesn't matter if you're a newborn or a senior citizen. It doesn't matter if you're black, white or Hispanic. No one is immune," said Dr. Kris Box, Indiana State Health Commissioner.

The agencies point to a 500 percent increase in the number of drug overdose deaths in the state in less than 20 years.

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