WASHINGTON, D.C.—In response to recommendations released by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) Pain Management Best Practices Interagency Task Force on safe opioid use, Vidor Friedman, MD, FACEP, president of the American College of Emergency Physicians (ACEP) has the following statement:
“ACEP is encouraged by the Trump Administration’s focus on this important issue of pain management. We support the inter-agency’s recommendation to use non-opioid medicines to treat pain when appropriate. As emergency physicians, we are on the front-lines responding to the opioid crisis we are facing in this country.
“We are taking steps to address this crisis on the prevention side by implementing innovative alternative treatments to opioids, such as the 'Alternatives to Opioids' programs or ALTO. This uses evidence-based protocols like nitrous oxide, nerve blocks, trigger point injections, and other non-opioid pain management tools to treat a patient’s pain in the emergency department.
“Successful ALTO programs in New Jersey and Colorado have dramatically and quickly reduced opioid prescriptions in emergency departments. In New Jersey, the ALTO program at St. Joseph’s Hospital saw opioid prescriptions drop by 82 percent over two years. These results were recently replicated at ten hospitals in Colorado, where hospital systems noted a 36 percent drop in opioid prescriptions in just the first six months of the program."