Opioid Epidemic: Medical Providers and Pharmacists
To report an increase in overdoses, a potential overdose cluster, or any other unusual drug-related event, call the Georgia Poison Center at 1-800-222-1222.
There are several steps medical providers can take to help prevent opioid misuse and addiction in their patients:
- Talk with patients about the dangers and risks of prescription painkillers, and tell them when they are receiving an opioid prescription. Patients may not know that the drug prescribed is an opioid.
- Offer alternative prescription painkiller options (other than opioids) to patients.
- Make sure patients are aware of the high risk of addiction, especially among young people ages 12-25, and those with a history, or family history, of addiction.
- Ensure patients only take medicine prescribed by their doctor, physician, dentist or other prescribing medical professional.
- Ensure patients take medication only as directed. They should never adjust the schedule or dosage on their own.
- Co-prescribe Naloxone.
- Advise patients to store prescriptions securely in a locked cabinet or drawer.
- Tell patients how to dispose of unused, expired or unwanted medication properly.
In an effort to help clinicians effectively treat chronic pain while minimizing the risk of opioid misuse and addiction, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) created Guidelines for Prescribing Opioids for Chronic Pain. These guidelines contain recommendations on prescribing opioids for chronic pain treatment, excluding active cancer treatment, and end-of-life care.
All prescribers in Georgia were required to register in the PDMP by January 1, 2018. Effective July 1, 2018, prescribers are required to check the PDMP before prescribing benzodiazepines and Schedule II opiate or cocaine derivatives. Prescribers can register delegates to check the PDMP and enter patient information.
By engaging with patients when medications are dispensed, pharmacists play an important role in preventing opioid misuse and addiction.
Since July 1, 2017, dispensers are required to enter prescription information for Schedule II-V substances within 24 hours of dispensing. This provides prescribers with timely access to information and allows them to make the best clinical decisions for their patients.
Naloxone Standing Order and Medical Amnesty Law
Georgia has a standing order which permits anyone to buy Naloxone at a pharmacy without a prescription.
Georgia also has a Medical Amnesty Law, which provides civil and criminal immunity for administration of Naloxone, in addition to limited immunity for possession of drugs or drug paraphernalia to those seeking medical attention for themselves or someone else.
Page last updated 11/21/2019