It was just over two years ago that doctors at Alexandria Clinic were given report cards detailing all the opioids they were prescribing to their patients on a daily basis.
“Everybody was in a state of shock in realizing where we were on that scale of prescribing,” said Dr. Deb Dittberner, chief medical officer for Alomere Health, which oversees the clinic. “There was a lot of, ‘This data can’t be right.’”
Nearly a billion opioid pills were prescribed and dispensed in Minnesota at the peak of the opioid overdose epidemic, which continues to claim tens of thousands of lives each year across the country. Health experts say the epidemic in its early years was fueled by prescription painkillers like Oxycontin or Vicodin. Some of the state’s highest numbers of opioids were prescribed in Douglas County in west-central Minnesota, where Alexandria is the county seat.
But after revolutionizing its approach to treating pain and addiction, Alexandria Clinic has reduced the amount of opioids it prescribes by nearly two-thirds.
Source: Minnesota Public Radio