Opioid seminar educates doctors on safer prescribing

The seminar is meant to address the public health emergency

WARE, Mass. (WWLP) – Doctors, nurses and other health providers walk a fine line helping patients manage chronic pain. They need to help a patient, while at the same time minimizing the possibility they’ll become addicted and abuse their medication.

100 million people suffer with chronic pain in the U.S. One third of them say their pain is disabling. Baystate Mary Lane hospital in Ware held a seminar outlining safer and appropriate ways to prescribe opioids, while recognizing the risks.

Dr. Ruth Potee of the Greenfield Valley Medical Group led Tuesday night’s seminar on “scope of pain training.” “20% to 30% of people on chronic opiates will develop an addiction to those drugs, so we need to use caution when prescribing, and a lot of knowledge in helping to monitor people,” said Dr. Potee.

“When I have students come to me at the Ware Public Schools, and they say to me, ‘could I have a vicodin?’ I think I go out of my mind,” Ware School Nurse Jane Saletnik told 22News. “Because kids that age shouldn’t  know what Vicodin are. They shouldn’t be asking for Vicodin for a headache.”

Dr. Potee said this seminar is meant to address the public health emergency due to the opioid crisis and growing number of overdose deaths in Massachusetts, western Massachusetts and across the country.

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