New opioid guidelines have blocked 300,000 pain pills in Wilmington

Updated: Mar. 8, 2018 at 5:50 PM EST
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WILMINGTON, NC (WECT) - New Hanover Regional Medical Center said Thursday in a press release that its opioid prescription guidelines have stopped about 300,000 pain pills from being given to patients over the last four months.

"We wanted to take ownership," said Dr. Kevin Cannon, past president of NHRMC medical staff and head of the opioid task force that created the guidelines in October. "[We] recognize the role that we play as a medical staff for the problems that we are seeing in the community, whether it's opioids or pain medicines that can then cause people to be bridged to addiction."

The NHRMC guidelines set forth in October include shorter prescriptions, tapering patients off of opioids, and educating patients on the pain they should normally expect after a procedure.

"Whether it's recovering from a surgery, instead of getting a 10-14 day supply of pain medicines, now we're looking at being able to write for five and seven days," said Cannon.

In February, the number of opioid prescriptions dropped 22 percent from the 12-month average for 2017, according to the press release.

A region-wide medication takeback event is set for April 28, and it will include 15 sites in six counties.

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