How one city’s VA health system has greatly reduced opioid prescribing

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Though rates of illicit drug use are on the rise across the United States, opioid addiction leading to death by overdose often begins with a doctor’s well-meaning prescription for pain medicine.

Ohio, where two of us (A.M. and J.T.) work as physicians, has been particularly devastated by opioids. In 2016, Ohio reported more than 4,000 deaths from unintentional drug overdose (a 33 percent increase from the previous year), one of the highest totals in the country for this preventable cause of death. As a country, approximately 140 Americans are lost to opioids every day — a death toll equal to one Sept. 11 attack every three weeks. There appears to be no downturn in sight.  How one city’s VA health system has greatly reduced opioid prescribing

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