Prescription Drug Overdoses

Prescription Drug Overdoses and Health Care Providers

NEW! "Utah Guideline for Prescribing Opioids for Chronic Pain" in an effort to ensure patients have access to effective pain medications while reducing the growing epidemic of misuse, abuse, and overdoses from opioids.

Health care professionals who prescribe extended-release (ER) and long-acting (LA) opioid analgesics are in a key position to balance the benefits of prescribing ER/LA opioid analgesics to treat pain against the risks of serious adverse outcomes including addiction, unintentional overdose, and death.

Appropriate prescribing practices and patient education are important steps to help address this public health problem. Health care professionals who prescribe ER/LA opioid analgesics have responsibility to help ensure the safe and effective use of these drug products.

Prescriber Education

During the 2013 general session, the Utah State Legislature passed Senate Bill 214, Continuing Education for Prescription Drugs, to establish the continuing education requirements for controlled substance prescribers under the Utah Controlled Substances Act.  It requires certain controlled substance prescribers to complete at least 3.5 hours of continuing education hours in one or more controlled substance prescribing classes as a requisite for license renewal.  In addition to other requirements, the controlled substance prescribing class should also include all elements of the FDA Blueprint for Prescriber Education under the FDA’s Extended-Release and Long-Acting Opioid Analgesics Risk Evaluation and Mitigation Strategy (REMS).

Controlled Substances:  Education for the Prescriber Course

Utah Controlled Substance Database

The Utah Controlled Substance Database Program (CSD) is a prescription monitoring program that assists prescribers and pharmacists in learning more about their patients’ prescription history. The Utah Controlled Substance Database Program was legislatively created and put into effect on July 1, 1995. It is used to track and collect data on the dispensing of Schedule II-V drugs by all retail, institutional, and outpatient hospital pharmacies, and in-state/out-of-state mail order pharmacies. The data is disseminated to authorized individuals and used to identify potential cases of drug over-utilization, misuse, and over-prescribing of controlled substances throughout the state.

Utah Clinical Guidelines on Prescribing Opioids for Treatment of Pain

The Utah Clinical Guidelines on Prescribing Opioids for Treatment of Pain (Guidelines) provide recommendations for the use of opioids for management of pain that are intended to balance the benefits of use against the risks to the individual and society, and to be useful to practitioners.

The guidelines were published and made available to providers in March 2009. These guidelines were developed by a consensus panel after a review of existing evidence-based guidelines and common recommendations were found. The guidelines consist of a set of recommendations for acute pain and chronic pain as well as over 20 tools for providers to use in their practice.