With fentanyl and opioid-related overdose deaths soaring, a new program for physicians is being developed.
The OxyContin Prescription Drug Abuse Program, or PEPAD, will help those who have been prescribed opioids or are concerned about the side effects.
It is intended to help doctors keep their patients safe.
“It’s designed to get physicians to make a conscious effort to not use these drugs,” said Dr. David J. Furlong, who leads the program.
The PEPad aims to give physicians more awareness about opioids, to educate them on the dangers of the drugs, and to give them a means to take precautions and avoid addiction.
“Physicians are trained in the importance of knowing the risks, the consequences, the potential for addiction and to be cautious about using these drugs.
It’s really important to them, and that’s really the key, is to educate themselves,” Furlon said.
In order to participate in the program, physicians must fill out a short form on the PEPAP website and complete a survey.
It will then be sent to the PPPP, the province’s addiction agency.
“This program is very targeted and very targeted at physicians, it’s geared towards physicians who have not seen patients in a long time,” said Furlons spokesperson, Amanda Wray.
The form asks for a medical record, current prescriptions, and a description of the opioid’s side effects, such as addiction and loss of appetite.
The questionnaire is optional.
The information is used to help identify potential prescribers, and it’s used to ensure that the patient’s safety is not compromised, she said.
“The information that is gathered is then used by the PPs to develop guidelines for prescribing the medication,” Frelong said.PEPAD will be able to identify physicians that are potentially at risk for prescribing opioids to their patients.
Frelon said physicians may not be aware that their patients are at risk.
“The PPPs data will be shared with our colleagues at the PPDs office, who will then develop guidelines to help physicians to stay safe and avoid prescribing these drugs to their clients.”
In the meantime, Furlen says PPP is trying to educate physicians about the dangers.
“We’re also trying to work with them on developing guidelines for how to prescribe opioids safely,” he said.
Furlong said the program is currently in its second year and is aiming to expand to other provinces and territories by the end of this year.