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The opioid crisis in Wisconsin: What will come next?

The opioid epidemic has caused many things to come under scrutiny. This includes the opioid prescription practices of doctors. Across the country, various steps have been taken related to such practices to try to help address the opioid crisis.

What has been done in Wisconsin on this front? For one, the state’s medical examining board issued a special set of guidelines for doctors related to the prescribing of such medications.

It appears that there have been shifts in opioid prescribing practices in the state lately. According to recent data, this year, the period from April 1 to June 30 saw 12 percent fewer opioid doses dispensed in the state as compared to the same period last year.

However, opioid overdose deaths continue to go up in the state. So, it seems likely that scrutiny regarding opioid-related topics, including opioid prescribing practices, may remain high in the state.

The state has a special opioid abuse task force aimed at discussing and coming up with best practices regarding the various issues related to the crisis. Among the things that have come under discussion among the task force’s members lately are the medical community’s response to the crisis and whether this response is enough.

One wonders what views will ultimately become the dominant ones in the state on whether the state’s medical community is doing enough to address the opioid crisis. If it becomes widely viewed that it is not, there may be pressure on the state to take action regarding things such as opioid prescribing practices.

What rules, regulations and policies are present in a state when it comes to the prescribing of medications can have all kinds of impacts. This includes major ramifications for the state’s doctors. It can impact what the everyday practice of medical is like for them and what kind of legal issues could come up for them in connection to their practice.

So, what things continued concerns over the opioid epidemic do, and do not lead to, here in Wisconsin could end up mattering quite a bit for the state’s medical community.

Source: Wisconsin Public Radio, “Opioid Doses Drop In Wisconsin, But Overdose Deaths Continue To Rise,” Shamane Mills, Nov. 3, 2017

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