IU Health Discusses Methods for Combating Prescription Painkiller Abuse


IU Health Starke Hospital says it has a framework for managing prescriptions written for pain medication.

U.S. Senator Joe Donnelly last week said medical physicians often don’t receive proper training when it comes to writing prescriptions for pain killers. His efforts, alongside Surgeon General Vivek Murthy, are looking to curtail what is seen as an epidemic in the United States with opioid addiction and abuse.

IU Health Starke Hospital President Craig Felty says Senator Donnelly’s comments are fair.

“The newer medical school grads are more exposed to it and I think that they’re learning a lot more about what dangers and what the long-term sequella of prescribing these medications can be.”

Apart from following Indiana Code for writing prescriptions for pain medication, IU Health Starke Hospital encourages its professionals to utilize Indiana’s INSPECT program. The online portal tracks pain medication prescriptions and locations.

Other methods to manage pain are also introduced to patients. According to Felty, the subjective experience of pain puts medical doctors in a quandary for how to best treat patients.

Felty, however, says patients shop around between doctors to find what they need.

“Most pharmacies, I believe, do now subscribe to INSPECT,” says Felty. “There was a point in time when not all pharmacies were online and so they didn’t realize all the medications that some patients were getting from multiple different physicians.”

Setting expectations for the patient is an important part of IU Health Starke’s approach to pain management.

259-million prescriptions were written in the United States for patients in 2012.