WSHA and the Washington State Medical Association (WSMA) announced July 6 the launch of a joint task force to develop solutions to address the growing opioid epidemic, with an eye toward ways physicians and hospitals can play a more active role in tackling this issue. The task force will focus on driving appropriate prescribing and other best practices to help reduce prescription opioid addiction and overdose, also advancing key legislative proposals and policy initiatives. WSHA named three members to the task force.
Drug overdoses – most of them involving opioids – recently surpassed car crashes as the leading cause of accidental death in our state and nationwide. WSHA and WSMA have already worked together to help prevent prescription opioid abuse, including leading statewide efforts to educate physicians on best practices for safe, effective and appropriate prescribing. The ER is for Emergencies program, which started in 2012, implemented several practices related to identifying patients who were struggling with addiction or pain management problems.