Opioid crisis draws doctors, others who prescribe meds to Dayton conference

ajc.com

Physicians, nurse practitioners, pharmacists, dentists and anyone else who is sanctioned to prescribe medications gathered Wednesday for the start of a two-night conference focused on navigating the opioid crisis.

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Prescribers, hospitals and medical facilities are partners with Public Health - Dayton & Montgomery County, said Barbara Marsh, assistant to the county health commissioner and co-lead of the Community Overdose Action Team (COAT).

"We need them to come to the table and learn ways in which they can work with their patients in finding other ways to manage pain," Marsh told WHIO-TV.

The event features presenters who will address topics such as best practices on proper prescription guidelines, patient monitoring, alternative pain management, opioid-free anesthesia, screening, drug testing, peer recovery  and more.

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In 2017, there were 566 overdose deaths with 25 percent of those mentioning prescription opioids in Montgomery County, according to the county health department. Beyond the overdose deaths, prescription opioids can act as a first-step toward illicit opioid use and addiction.

"According to the Drug Enforcement Agency, the amount of opioids prescribed per person was three times higher in 2015 than in 1999," Marsh said.

While prescriptions for opioids have been decreasing since 2015, she said, they are still an important part of the problem.

One of the major points of the two-night conference, which is being held at the Marriott at the University of Dayton, is to be able to get information to prescribers about managing chronic pain for their patients, Marsh said.

COAT was formed in fall 2016. It is made up of more than 100 organizations and more than 200 community members whose goal is to reduce the number of overdose deaths in Montgomery County.

Public Health - Dayton & Montgomery County and the Prescription Opioid Branch of COAT are event co-hosts. For more about the COAT, visit www.phdmc.org/coat.

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