Ongoing Research Funded by DHF

Developing Ways to Reduce Inappropriate Use of (Leftover) Narcotics Prescribed for Patients Undergoing Bowel Surgery

2017  | Disease: Surgery (Gastrointestinal)

Principal Researcher: Jonah J. Stulberg, MD PhD MPH

Principal Investigator: Jonah J. Stulberg, MD, PhD, MPH

A surplus of prescription pain killers continues to fuel the drug crisis in America. Accidental overdose of opioids have surpassed motor vehicle crashes in this country. Nearly two-thirds of opioid pills prescribed to Digestive Health Center (DHC) patients now go unused, leaving them vulnerable to abuse or misuse within our communities.

Thanks to a Digestive Health Foundation grant, Jonah J. Stulberg, MD, PhD, MPH, a faculty member in the Department of Surgery, plans to launch the nation’s first-of-its-kind intervention project aimed at this growing risk among the DHC patient population. Through education and training, he hopes to change the culture of drug misuse among patients and the prescribing habits of ordering physicians to provide a safer and more effective pain management strategy.

The study will include the installation of a one-way, sealed drug collection receptacle within the DHC Clinic; provider training on opioid prescribing risks, benefits and alternatives; and patient education materials promoting opioid medication safety. The grant will support the development of the educational tools and the statistical and project coordinator staff needed to study implementation effectiveness as well as the costs associated with the installation and maintenance of the opioid retrieval box. The ultimate goal is to develop a sustainable model for safe opioid prescribing and optimal pain control, while minimizing societal harm due to a surplus of unused opioids.

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