Efforts to Reduce Opioid Addiction are on the Rise

Question: What is the Current Response to the Opioid Addiction Problem?

Answer: Opioid addiction, including the abuse of illegal drugs such as heroin and prescription pharmaceuticals, is drawing more attention on both the state and national levels. In New Jersey, Governor Christie has made numerous public comments about the severity of the problem, and limits on physicians’ prescribing have been introduced. Recently, rumors have spread that President Trump is expected to appoint Christie to spearhead a Federal panel on opioid addiction during a meeting scheduled at the White House for March 29, 2017.

Current news reports now confirm these rumors, as it is being widely reported that the President has appointed Christie to head a special commission to advise the Executive Branch regarding what can, and should, be done to try to stem what has been described as a national opioid addiction epidemic. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (“CDC”) report that, since 1999, the number of deaths involving opioids has quadrupled, and estimates that 91 Americans die each day as a result of opioid addiction. According to the CDC, between 2000 and 2015, 500,000 people died from drug overdoses, with the majority of these deaths due to opioids, and these deaths affect all socioeconomic groups.

The budget recently released by the Trump Administration calls for a $500 million increase above 2016 levels to fund drug treatment and expand opioid misuse prevention efforts. It remains to be seen exactly what form these efforts may take, but recent experience suggests that prescription drugs, and the physicians who prescribe them, will be a major focus of these efforts.

Weekly Charting Tip
: In an interaction with one of our readers, it became apparent that something needs to be stressed concerning EMR. Do not even think of “changing” your original record at a later date. Besides being fraudulent and unethical, any change can be easily tracked from the log of the computer program. The proper way of correcting a mistake or adding something that was left out, is via an addendum. The addendum should be clearly labeled as such and should be dated and e-signed on the date that the addendum is being added. Attempting to change a record in EMR is just plain foolish and dangerous! A word to the wise!

See you next time!  - Larry Kobak, Esq. DPM

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