Home / World News / To combat dependancy, several Colorado hospitals tried a new approach to treating ache. Their use of opioids plummeted. – The Denver Post

To combat dependancy, several Colorado hospitals tried a new approach to treating ache. Their use of opioids plummeted. – The Denver Post

LONE TREE — Colorado hospitals that were part of a groundbreaking pilot project were able to dramatically reduce the amount of opioids they administered by simply focusing on alternative, safer pain treatments, according to a new study released Thursday.

When the Colorado Hospital Association launched the project last summer, it set a goal of reducing opioid administration in emergency departments by 15 percent. Instead, the eight hospitals and two freestanding emergency rooms that were part of the project reduced opioid administration by 36 percent.

Every facility in the project reduced opioid use by at least 30 percent. Two facilities came close to reducing their opioid administration by half. And for two monitored conditions — kidney stones and back pain — the facilities flipped from treating them mostly with opioids to using alternatives.

When the results were presented Thursday at a Colorado Hospital Association forum on opioids, the audience applauded enthusiastically.

“Holy schmoly,” Dr. Don Stader, a Swedish Medical Center emergency department doctor who helped lead the effort, said to the crowd.

All told, Stader said the pilot program resulted in 35,000 fewer doses of opioids being administered at the participating facilities. At one point late last year, Stader said use of alternatives topped use of opioids at the facilities.

“That’s a revolutionary change in how we’re practicing medicine,” he said.

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