Opioid Stewardship

The opioid epidemic in North Carolina is a 100-county problem. It is a crisis that makes no distinction between age, race, sex, wealth, or any other demographic factor. As a result, the problem is affecting our state at every level of care delivery. Realizing the scope of the issue, the North Carolina Healthcare Association is looking at ways to improve care pathways for those suffering with Opiate Use Disorder at the hospital- and health system-level. Beginning with the formation of the Coalition for Model Opioid Practices in Health Systems, the group plans to assess the current state of care delivery in our hospitals and health systems. Across the state, partners are working to combat the crisis and turn the tide of the opioid epidemic. The following resources are a starting place for you and your hospital to begin aligning your opioid plans with NCHA and the State of North Carolina.

Healthcare Worker Diversion Efforts

Employees of health systems often work in stressful situations and may suffer from mental health challenges and/or substance use disorders just as others in the general population do. They may also have access to controlled substances on the job, creating a situation in which diversion of drugs is a risk.

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Framework for Hospitals to Align Their Work

The Coalition for Model Opioid Practices in Health Systems is a partnership between the North Carolina Healthcare Association and the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services. Within the coalition there are three working groups: Prevention and Safe Pain Management, Health System Response, and Healthcare Worker Diversion Efforts. This collaborative work helps frame the areas of focus our health systems should be prioritizing as they move to develop best practices and tools to combat the ongoing opioid crisis in our state. Coalition members include representatives from all 130 hospitals in North Carolina, professional societies, and government agencies who are working to address the opioid crisis at a health system level. Many serve in their organizations’ leadership around their opioid efforts, including serving on hospital opioid safety committees, community task forces, the North Carolina Prescription Drug Abuse Advisory Committee, and the North Carolina Healthcare Association Behavioral Health Work Group. A primary focus for this work is to ensure that there is communication across sectors so that there is a maximization of resources and that efforts aren’t being duplicated. The framework is designed to help hospitals align their efforts with other health systems and ensure that they are able to make the largest impact in their communities.

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ED Opioid Guidelines

The North Carolina Healthcare Association (NCHA) and the North Carolina Chapter of the American College of Emergency Physicians (NCCEP) encourage hospitals to review their policies and procedures to ensure opioids are prescribed properly throughout their organization, especially in the Emergency Department (ED). This document serves as a guideline for best practices in pain management for Emergency Departments.

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Governors Institute Website

The Governors Institute Opioid Website serves a resource hub for state agencies and partners to aggregate their data in one central place. It is a resource for providers and patients.

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NC State Opioid Action Plan

North Carolina’s Opioid Action Plan was developed with community partners to combat the opioid crisis. It is a living document that will be updated as we make progress on the epidemic and are faced with new issues and solutions.

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Opioid Safety

CCNC seeks to address these challenges by continuing the effective community-based work that began with the state-wide chronic pain initiative Project Lazarus. In collaboration with the Coalition for Model Opioid Practices, CCNC has curated a series of materials aimed at providing information and resources to key players in opioid safety: primary care providers, care managers, community pharmacists, emergency room physicians, law enforcement, and first responders. These materials are available for download at the link below.

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Stem the Tide: Addressing the Opioid Epidemic

This toolkit is a compilation of resources to provide guidance to hospitals and health systems on how they can continue to address the opioid epidemic. The toolkit is designed to be a dynamic resource to which updates are made as additional content is released. This toolkit includes resources for hospitals and health systems to share with clinicians and patients and to use to enhance partnerships within their communities. The information is categorized into eight topic areas: 1. Clinician education on prescribing practices 2. Nonopioid pain management 3. Addressing stigma 4. Treatment options for opioid use disorders 5. Patient, family and caregiver education 6. Transitions of care 7. Safeguarding against diversion 8. Collaborating with communities

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Confronting the Opioid Epidemic

The NC Department of Justices’ online resource guide for combatting the opioid epidemic here in North Carolina. This resource guide brings together some of the programs communities have implemented as they confront the crisis in their community. It includes content that public officials, law enforcement officers, the medical community, EMS officials, local businesses, faith leaders, and other people looking to make a difference themselves can utilize to make impact their regions.

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What Should You Do with Unused Opioids?

This one-page flyer provides easy-to-use and easy-to-disseminate information regarding the proper disposal of unused medications.

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