The goal of the Southern OPG group is to decrease the morbidity and mortality associated with the inappropriate use of opiates AND shift the focus to non-opiate treatments for complex chronic pain so that patients experience an overall improvement in well being.
The Southern OPG group is a diverse group of 70 health care professionals from Jackson and Josephine Counties. The group was formed in response to the growing number of prescription opioid overdose deaths in our community. The majority of those deaths were related to the misuse of medications written by local providers. The participants in the Southern OPG group recognized the critical nature of the problems regarding opiate-related morbidity and mortality in the impact on our community, and wanted to be part of the solution. The Southern OPG group has met monthly since 2011.
The group was formed to:
- Engage healthcare professionals and community partners in understanding the nature of the current opioid problem,
- Learn about best practices for managing complex chronic non-cancer pain (CCNP), and
- Help bring these best practices into standardized, general use in Southern Oregon.
The OPG group was envisioned by Dr. Jim Shames who, as Medical Director of Jackson County Health and Human Services, saw firsthand the devastating effects of opioid abuse in Southern Oregon. He recognized the need to get the community to embrace the issue, and develop their own set of strategies for coping with this public health emergency.
The Southern OPG group created an Opioid Prescribers Guidelines document as a new community standard for chronic pain management and opioid prescribing. These Guidelines bring together best practices from the medical literature, recommendations from Washington State’s Agency Medical Directors’ Group and the combined expertise of the participants in the OPG group.
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