New MetroHealth Office Focuses on Safe Prescribing of Opioids

Dr. Joan Papp will lead MetroHealth's new office of opioids safety. Here she sits with Metro CEO Dr. Akram Boutros in a 2015 file photo.
Dr. Joan Papp will lead MetroHealth's new office of opioids safety. Here she sits with Metro CEO Dr. Akram Boutros in a 2015 file photo. [Nick Castele / ideastream]

MetroHealth Medical Center has launched an office to educate doctors and the public on opioid addiction.

Medical director Dr. Joan Papp said the new Office of Opioid Safety will come up with a curriculum for doctors. The office will also help providers whose patients have both chronic pain and opioid addictions.

The aim is to ensure that healthcare providers know the federal and state guidelines for prescribing opioids, she said.

“We believe that this can be achieved through targeted education for all levels of our healthcare providers on opioid safety and management of pain with non-opioid alternatives,” Papp said at a news conference on Friday.

The office is applying for a federal grant to work with law enforcement and in the Cuyahoga County jail. Papp said the office would help find treatment for newly released inmates with addiction. Ex-offenders would also be equipped with a naloxone overdose prevention kit.

The grant is made possible through the Comprehensive Addiction and Recovery Act, a bill sponsored by Sen. Rob Portman and signed into law last year.

Portman, who spoke at the Friday announcement, said there are ways to deal with pain other than the over prescribing of opioids.

“Including pain pumps, and other therapies, physical therapies and other things, including sometimes the safe prescribing of opioids,” Portman said. “But we’ve got to limit it. And if we don’t we’re not going to get to the bottom of this.”

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