Now Available: The ASSH Opioid Protocols and Handout Repository

August 14, 2018

By Julie Adams, MD - Increasing public and professional attention has recently been focused upon the opioid epidemic. In part due to well meaning efforts to “adequately treat pain” and the thought that “pain is a vital sign,” as well as the erroneous message that opioids were not addictive, physicians began to prescribe an increasing number of opioid medications in the late 1990s. It became clear that these medications did indeed carry a high potential for addiction, abuse and misuse, resulting in the current crisis. At present, drug overdoses have now become the leading cause of death of Americans under the age of 50 years in the U.S., and 116 people die daily from opioid-related drug overdoses. With recognition of this problem, attention has focused on what we as hand surgeons can do to counteract the opioid epidemic; to educate ourselves and our patients, and to adequately treat postoperative pain but limit use of narcotic medications.

The opioid epidemic taskforce was charged with these tasks by ASSH President Jim Chang. To help ASSH, we have engaged our members to create a repository of opioid protocols and handouts.

The Opioid Protocols and Handout Repository was created to house helpful handouts, protocols and patient education materials from our members.  The hope is that by making these resources available, members can use them for purposes of their own education to enhance understanding of opioid protocols, or as examples when creating their own materials and protocols for their practice.  The repository is being housed on Hand-e and is available to ASSH members:

We continue to accept submissions for the repository and would welcome your resources, which can be sent to [email protected].

A special “THANK YOU” to our members who have kindly shared their resources for the repository!

For your further education, we have also provided links to the many resources available from other organizations.  ASSH acknowledges and reminds members that guidelines and regulations vary widely amongst different locations; and to please consult your state, local and organization for regulations, guidelines and restrictions that may be applicable to your practice.

- Julie Adams, MD