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VA urged to monitor opioid prescriptions

VA Watchdog Urges Action to Address Risks of Opioid Medications to Veterans

August 2, 2017
The Office of the Inspector General (OIG), a watchdog agency for the Veterans Affairs Administration (VA), has urged the VA to take steps to monitor opioid prescriptions and abuse among veterans, stating that the powerful medications pose a particular risk to vets.

The OIG warned that veterans with chronic pain and mental illness are particularly vulnerable to the overeager prescription of opioid painkillers, and that the VA should use all available means to curtail the abuse of the drugs.

The agency pointed specifically to such programs as the Veterans Choice Program, which allows veterans to visit community health centers, as those centers may not be sufficiently informed of the risks that opioids pose to vets, who have experienced greater rates of opioid abuse and death than the general population.

The VA has in place an Opioid Safety Initiative, but the OIG found that community health centers are often unaware of its provisions, largely due to poor communication between the centers and VA hospitals.

The VA responded to the OIG report by stating that it will encourage veterans to fill their prescriptions at VA pharmacies whenever possible. The VA is reportedly looking into strengthening its guidelines that pertain to opioid prescriptions, as well.

The abuse of opioid painkillers kills more than 30,000 Americans every year.

If you or a loved one has suffered the agonies of opioid abuse, there may be something you can do about it. Contact the expert attorneys at TheLawFirm.com for a free consultation.

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