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Strategies Implemented to Cut Opioid ODs, Deaths in Maryland

THURSDAY, June 15, 2017 -- Strategies are being implemented to reduce opioid overdoses and deaths in Maryland, according to a report published by the American Medical Association (AMA).

A series of special training programs, including training on how to use the Screening, Brief Intervention, and Referral to Treatment strategy in office-based settings are being facilitated by the Maryland State Medical Society (MedChi). The aim is to get 250 physicians to attend two sessions planned for June 20 and 22.

In the first nine months of 2016 there was a 72 percent increase in heroin-related overdose deaths and a 17 percent increase in fatal opioid-related overdoses, compared with the same period in 2015. During 2016 there were 13.3 percent fewer opioid prescriptions filled in Maryland compared with 2013, lagging behind the 14.6 percent national decrease in opioid prescriptions during this period. MedChi has contacted Maryland physicians to encourage them to enroll in the state's prescription drug monitoring program. In addition, two AMA-supported bills were signed by the Maryland governor that provided support for treatment.

"We also support the increased emphasis on youth education to help our children and young adults understand the risks of opioid misuse and illicit drug use," AMA Board Chairman Patrice Harris, M.D., said in a statement.

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Posted: June 2017

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