DAYTON, Ohio — The opioid prescribing rate at the Dayton Veterans Affairs Medical Center fell by more than 40 percent since 2012, according to newly released data from the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs.

The Dayton Daily News reported the decrease follows the department’s opioid reduction initiative launched five years ago. The department said it decided to release its prescribing data for the first time this month in an effort to be transparent.

The department’s data showed 11 percent of prescriptions at the Dayton VA were for opioids last year, compared with 20 percent in 2012. The VA’s overall prescribing rate dropped 41 percent since the program launched.

Dr. Anne Venable, primary care physician at the Dayton VA, said the program is directly connected to the opioid overdose epidemic. A record 560 people died from drug overdoses in Dayton and Montgomery County last year.

Venable said the VA follows a general guideline of avoiding opioid prescriptions for non-cancer pain. Data showed 99 percent of VA facilities have decreased prescribing rates.

“Opiates are not as beneficial for pain as we once thought, and they are much more risky,” Venable said.

The department has turned to alternative methods for pain relief. Options include medical massages, hypnosis and non-opiate pain medication.


Information from: Dayton Daily News, http://www.daytondailynews.com