Alleviating pain – an important aspect of emergency care – has made opioids a mainstay in treatment. So what steps can ED providers take to turn the tide of the national opioid crisis?

Patrick Zelley, M.D., ABEM, a practicing physician and Regional Medical Officer with Schumacher Clinical Partners, offers this advice:

Change Treatment Habits in the ED

Dr. Zelley recommends that providers make a concerted effort to change their habits regarding what medications to use when treating pain in the ED.

“For many doctors, it’s a common reaction to order dilaudid or morphine without even considering alternatives,” he says. “It has become a habit for many physicians, and that’s what we need to overcome now.”

He recommends that ED physicians not rely on the established status quo when treating pain, but look for other options.

If the severity of pain is such that a narcotic is appropriate during ED care, then reasonable dosing is justifiable. It...