As Featured On ABC7 News: Groundbreaking Research To Prevent Opioid Overuse After Surgery

In anticipation of the DEA’s National Prescription Drug Take Back Day (October 29th), ABC7 highlighted two new research studies from spine surgeons at VSI in Reston, VA that uncover groundbreaking research that will help set new prescription guidelines to protect surgery patients from risks of opioid addiction and overdose.

According to the (FDA), prescription opioid misuse is one of the most common types of illegal drug use in the United States. 

“Opioids are extremely important for pain control after spine surgery,” explains Dr. Christopher Good. “We prescribe two weeks at a time, estimate what’s needed, and re-adjust as we go. But this research shows that, often, the patient doesn’t use all they’re given.” 

“In a pill count study within our own practice, we found nearly half of patients (45%) had unused opioids 90 days after their procedure.”

Through another research study done by VSI, on a national level they gathered data from 50 U.S. medical centers and more than 50,000 patients, which found that ‘Enhanced Recovery After Surgery’ (ERAS) – a series of standardized protocols surgeons use to obtain the best outcomes – reduced post-spine surgery opioid consumption by 50 percent; reduced hospital stays; and cut back on readmissions.

Dr. Good says this groundbreaking research is just the tip of the iceberg. “Our job now is to find a better balance with prescribing opioids. In the process of making those changes, we have been able to reduce leftover pill counts by 30-50 percent.” 

To safely dispose of opioids, you can find a drug collection site through the DEA website, learn what drugs are flushable from the FDA Flush List, or get a disposable drug packet

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