Doctors prescribe less opioids, find alternatives for treating pain

Miami Valley News

A new report shows opioid prescriptions are down in Ohio and a local doctor is developing a new strategy for treating chronic pain.

Dr. Nancy Pook with Kettering Health Network is on a mission to change the way doctors treat pain after seeing first-hand how far people will go to fuel their opiate addiction. One of her patients actually stole her DEA number, duplicated it, and printed up their own prescriptions pads for opioids.

The experience is ultimately what motivated her to start fighting back against the opioid epidemic.

“That was,” Dr. Nancy Pook said. “Horrible.”

Dr. Nancy Pook describing the shock when she learned she herself was a victim of prescription fraud.
An example of the power opioids can have over patients.

“People were coming in demanding medication,” Dr. Pook said. “There was a lot of violence toward our staff.”

Around the same time in 2012 opioid prescriptions peaked in Ohio. During that year, doctors prescribed nearly 800 million doses of opiates.

“There was a medication that was thought to be safe,” Dr. Pook said. “According to those who marketed it and it turned out not to be the case.”

Since 2012, the number of doses prescribed dropped to about 560 million doses nearly a 30 percent decrease.

Dr. Pook says it’s because the tide is changing when it comes to treating pain. In February, one of the largest manufacturers of OxyContin announced it’ll no longer market the drug to doctors, laying off half its sales staff.

“We wanted to provide a safe place to handle pain,” Dr. Pook said. “Without creating more societal problems, more personal problems.”

That’s why Dr. Pook created the Pause program. This diagram makes it easier for doctors–it numbers parts of the body, and provides a corresponding list of medications that’ll treat pain in those areas.

And most importantly–all of the medications put patients on a non-addictive path.

“I’m very happy that we’re seeing fewer people die, fewer people overdose,” Dr. Pook said. “Sewer people going to the I-C-U and more people with hope, especially the patients and their families.”

The Pause Program is operating at all seven of Kettering Health Network’s hospitals. Pook lectures at local colleges about the program, and hopes to continue expanding the program to other hospitals in the years to come.

Copyright 2021 Nexstar Media Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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