what’s next@NorthShore OPIOID ADDICTION: Do You Know the Warning Signs? • Wanting to cut back on pain medication, but can’t • Seeing multiple physicians to get multiple prescriptions • Poor job performance • Withdrawal from relationships with family and friends • Angry and abusive behavior; severe mood swings Opioid Overload NorthShore Physicians Take Action to Counter Painkiller Abuse By Barb Hailey “There’s no stereotypical face of opioid use and abuse in pregnancy.” — Dr. David Ouyang, Maternal Fetal Medicine Specialist P rescription opioid pain medications such as OxyContin and Vicodin help many patients manage chronic pain. But the therapeutic value from short-term use has given way to a serious epidemic of opioid addiction. Statistics from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) are startling: One in four patients prescribed opioids becomes addicted. Ninety-one Americans die every day from an opioid overdose, and more than 500,000 have died from an overdose between 2000 and 2015. Just as tragic is the increase in newborns who are born dependent on opioids due to their mothers’ drug use. TAKING THE LEAD Physicians at Nor thShore University HealthSystem (NorthShore) are responding to this alarming trend. They have joined with state and federal health regulators to establish critical new guidelines for prescribing the safest and most eff ective pain treatments. Among them: Family Medicine Physician Lauren Oshman, MD, MPH, co-chair of NorthShore’s Chronic Pain Management Task Force, is charged with implementing guidelines to help physicians prescribe opioids safely. Maternal Fetal Medicine Specialist David Ouyang, MD, is a member of the Illinois Neonatal Abstinence Syndrome (NAS) Committee. NAS is a withdrawal syndrome newborns suff er when mothers use opioids during pregnancy. Both physicians hold academic appointments at the University of Chicago Pritzker School of Medicine. “We’re implementing the CDC’s opioid prescribing guidelines for chronic pain in all of our NorthShore physician practices,” explained Dr. Oshman. “These include prescribing lower doses of opioid medication and monitoring patients closely. We also developed a pain agreement, where doctors and patients map out risks, goals and expectations for chronic pain management.” NorthShore physicians also are leading the way with alternatives, including non-opioid medications and changes in diet and exercise. opioids,” Dr. Ouyang added. “Our neonatology colleagues have taken the lead on identifying and closely monitoring at-risk infants. There’s no stereotypical face of opioid use and abuse in pregnancy. Approaching these moms in a supportive fashion improves the likelihood that they’ll follow suggested care and treatments, which in turn beneﬁ ts the health of their babies.” BE BRAVE: ASK FOR HELP If you or someone you know is struggling with substance abuse—including opioids—seeking help is the most important and courageous step you can take. Marking its 40th anniversary, NorthShore’s Doreen E. Chapman Center offers comprehensive treatment for people suffering from addiction to drugs and alcohol. Learn more about these programs online at northshore.org/r1 . To make an appointment, please call (847) 492-5700 (Ext. 1259) . BABIES ARE MOST VULNERABLE “The opioid epidemic spares no one, including pregnant moms and their babies,” noted Dr. Ouyang, who through the NAS Committee works with his NorthShore maternal fetal medicine colleague, Ann Borders, MD, to evaluate and recommend guidelines and programs to help moms and babies aff ected by opioid abuse. “It’s important for all NorthShore providers to universally screen pregnant women for Dr. Lauren Oshman and Dr. David Ouyang are among NorthShore physicians leading the charge to reduce painkiller abuse.