The Providence VA is stepping up efforts to curb prescription painkiller abuse and overdose deaths. Now there are two new tools in the fight.
Nationwide, the VA rolled out its opioid safety initiative in 2013. Since then, VA systems around the country have begun tracking painkiller and other prescriptions better. That includes a new system to track whether a patient has also been prescribed a class of medication called benzodiazepines, which can be dangerous when combined with opioids.
The health care system has also received new kits designed to be easier to use. Chief of primary care Doctor Paul Pirraglia says they don’t require training on how to draw medication into a syringe.
“Because the teaching will be so much easier in these, because there’s literally nothing to draw up, and the thing tells you what to do, it talks to you and tells you what to do, we think we can distribute these things much more broadly now,” said Pirraglia.
He said the goal is to distribute narcan to as many patients as possible, when they receive a prescription for painkillers.
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