According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention about 115 Americans die each day from an opioid overdose—almost five every hour—and the numbers are increasing,
A wide range of U-M researchers are working to tackle the root causes of, and potential solutions for, this national crisis.
One of these solutions, Opioid Prescribing Recommendations for Surgery, was created by researchers at Michigan OPEN. The toolkit looks at 16 common operations, ranging from breast cancer surgery to hernia repair, and then offers a recommended number of prescription pain pills to prescribe to patients who undergo those procedures. The recommendations are updated on a quarterly basis as more data is collected and new procedures are added.
The amounts to prescribe are not arbitrary. They represent the actual maximum opioid use reported by 75 percent of actual surgery patients. Most patients actually took far less, from 0 to 5 pills, even when they were prescribed more by their surgeon or other provider.
Featured in the article is Michigan OPEN research fellow, Jay Lee MD, and he describes in detail the framework for the prescribing recommendations and how they are implemented in surgical practice.