In a recent joint letter to healthcare providers, County Executive Steve Schuh and Health Officer Jinelene Chan are encouraging Anne Arundel County physicians to follow strict guidelines when prescribing opioids and other painkillers.
“We are counting on you as a prescriber to be part of the solution for your patients. Most of our constituents with substance-use disorders began their path to addiction after forming dependencies to opioids prescribed as a result of an injury or other medical issue,” wrote the pair. “Their opioid dependence may have led to obtaining illegal street opioids like heroin, sometimes laced with fentanyl, after valid prescriptions ran out.”
To help address the opioid crisis, the letters asks every health care provider in the County to practice extreme caution when prescribing these medications to patients and to consider non-pharmaceutical therapies and non-opioid medications for the treatment of pain. Where opioids are appropriate, Schuh and Chan ask providers to prescribe the minimum amount necessary for the pain and closely monitor patients’ response to the medication.
The letter is part of an overall effort to raise awareness of the dangers of opioid abuse in the County. In addition, the County Executive’s Office continues to sponsor the “Not My Child” opioid abuse awareness panels across the County.