Opioid Stewardship


Substance misuse remains a major public health concern that has not only been veiled by the pandemic but augmented by soaring opioid-related mortality and morbidity. According to the CDC’s National Center for Health Statistics November 17, 2021, press release, there was an estimated 100,306 drug overdose deaths in the United States during the 12-month period ending April 2021, an increase of 28.5% from the 78,056 deaths during the same period in the prior year.

WSHA continues to serve as a trusted leader, collaborator, and convener of efforts to reduce opioid misuse. To continue the trajectory of opioid stewardship in Washington State, and a shared goal of improving opioid prescribing practices, preventing future opioid dependence, reducing overdoses, and increasing access to treatment, WSHA will remain committed by supporting provider education, community partnerships, and leveraging prescriber data to drive change and policy.

WSHA’s key 2023-2024 opioid stewardship aims include:

  • Continue to provide acute opioid above guidelines quarterly reports for hospital chief medical officers via the opt-in process, to support and inform on statewide and individual hospital prescribing practices in adults and vulnerable age-based populations: pediatrics and adults, age 65 year/older
  • Explore and expand data to include concurrent prescribing and health equity components for meaningful, action-oriented prescribing metrics that support harm reduction with opioids
  • Convene, support, and broaden opioid stewardship peer-led clinical quality improvement that aligns to the 2022 CDC Clinical Practice Guideline for Prescribing Opioids, the 2022 Bree Opioid Prescribing in Older Adults, to support prescribing clinicians in Washington State hospitals and/or affiliated hospital-based clinics
  • Sustain partnerships with key state stakeholders to review and promote synergy within the state’s opioid response plan that includes acute prescribing, prevention, and treatment
  • Support multidisciplinary educational opportunities to engage providers, clinicians, pharmacists, and care teams in equitable approaches to alternative modalities in pain management.

Getting Started

Opt-in to receive acute opioid prescribing feedback reports. By leveraging the Prescription Drug Monitoring Program database to view state and peer benchmarks on acute opioid above guideline prescribing, opt-in prescribers in our state have been successful in reducing opioid-related harm in their communities. To learn more about the opt-in process, contact MelinaO@wsha.org

Leverage the Starts with One Provider Toolkit to help you communicate safest opioid practices to your patients and gain access to opioid prevention resources. Posters, rack cards, talking points and customizable materials are available in both English and Spanish, at no cost for your hospital community.

Provider Toolkit 2.0 | it starts with one (getthefactsrx.com)

Participate in safe prescription storage and take back efforts in your community. Explore ways your hospital, pharmacy and community can participate in safe opioid best practices. Include this as a core component and fundamental education to your patients and families when prescribing opioid medications.

Prescribe and distribute naloxone to patients at risk of opioid overdose. WSHA is supportive of Emergency Departments prescribing and dispensing naloxone (opioid overdose rescue medication). Several hospitals are dispensing take-home naloxone kits.

SB 5195 – WA State’s 2021 Naloxone Law | Stopoverdose.org

Initiate medication-assisted therapy (MAT) for patients with opioid use disorder. Aligned with the American College of Emergency Physicians, WSHA is assisting Emergency Departments in WA State to initiate medication-assisted therapy (MAT) for patients with opioid use disorder.  Protocols are being adopted to include screening for opioid use disorder, initiation of MAT, and rapid referral to ongoing community-based treatment.


Health Equity and Patient Engagement Resources



To learn more about this improvement opportunity and/or additional information on reducing acute opioid prescribing, please contact Tinas@wsha.org or 206-216-2517



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Washington State Hospital Association
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Seattle, WA 98104

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