In 2015, West Virginia led the U.S. in drug overdose deaths. Last week, the state’s attorney general announced new best practices for prescribing and dispensing opioid painkillers—and thanks to osteopathic advocacy, the guidelines include a nod to DOs, whose unique training in osteopathic manipulative treatment (OMT) enables them to provide patients with a nonopioid alternative to treating patients with pain.
The osteopathic outreach effort was spearheaded by the AOA, the West Virginia Osteopathic Medical Association and the American College of Osteopathic Neurologists and Psychiatrists.
The guidelines advise physicians and other clinicians to “take every possible step to utilize non-opioid options,” including OMT, before prescribing opioids. “Generally, opioids should not be prescribed on the first visit,” the guidelines note.
“Finalizing these best practices set West Virginia on course to a brighter tomorrow,” West Virginia Attorney General Patrick Morrisey said in a statement. A broad coalition of medical groups, including the West Virginia Osteopathic Medical Association, the American College of Osteopathic Neurologists and Psychiatrists and the AOA, have rallied around the guidelines, Morrisey noted: “Their broad support emboldens my belief that we can slash usage of these addictive painkillers by at least 25% and save many from a life of addiction.”
To learn more and view the best practice, visit the Office of the West Virginia Attorney General website.