A group of local doctors and dentists committed to helping address the opioid crisis in Coweta have come together to create an official council to battle opioid abuse.
The “clinical council” was created through the Coweta Substance Abuse Prevention Coalition and had its first meeting last week, according to David Copelan, pharmacy director for Piedmont Newnan Hospital.
Copelan is a member of the coalition’s Prescriber Guidelines team. The team is working with local prescribers to address ways to change how doctors and dentists prescribe opioids that can help reduce the number of people becoming addicted to and/or misusing prescription opioids.
“This was a very good group. We were excited to get them together,” Copelan told members of CSAP at the group’s Tuesday meeting.
The first goal of the meeting was to have the prescribers talk about their impressions of the opioid crisis and what they are seeing in their practices.
“They gave us a lot of good information,” Copelan said. The Prescriber Guidelines team is also working on a survey that will be sent out to every prescriber – doctor, dentist, physicians assistant, nurse practitioner, etc., in the county.
The members of the council were asked to look over the survey and give feedback for changes, and they also committed to share it with their peers and encourage them to fill it out.
The survey will be sent out in January, Copelan said. The team has the name and address of every prescriber in Coweta, though it doesn’t have email addresses for everyone. The survey will be available on paper and online, and paper surveys will be mailed to prescribers. The mailings will also include a link to the online version of the survey.
From the clinical council meeting, “What we got back from them is our medical community is very aware of the problems,” Copelan said. “And within each speciality, they are working in different ways to help."
Physicians and dentists recognize that they are a source of prescription opioids, Copelan said. “They are working to reduce the amount of opioids in the community."
Copelan said the feedback on the draft survey was good. The council members liked the wording and felt the survey would provide good information.
The council members are also interested in helping push for more education on opioid management and pain management for providers, he said.
At the council meeting, the group also talked about some of the other CSAP strategies, particularly the “lock your meds” strategy – encouraging people to keep their medications secure and to dispose of them securely when they are no longer needed.
“They were very excited about the ‘lock your meds’ strategy and wanted some information to share with their patients,” Copelan said. “They felt they should be educating their patients on lock your meds."
The next steps for the group include identifying a few more local providers who should be members of the clinical council, Copelan said. The next clinical council meeting will be in January, he said.
Once survey results are in, the team plans to begin an educational campaign for providers.