171019-nrr-opioids (copy)

According to a new report released by the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs on Thursday, 20 percent of all prescriptions veterans received at the Roseburg VA pharmacy were opioids — the highest rate of opioid prescription of any VA in the country.

Photo illustration by Mike Henneke

The Roseburg Veterans Affairs Medical Center has the highest rate of opioid prescriptions of any VA in the country, according to a report released Thursday by the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs.

According to the report, 20 percent of all prescriptions veterans received at the VA pharmacy were opioids.

The report indicated, however, that the Roseburg VA has reduced its opioid prescription rate nearly 30 percent over the past five years. Ninety-nine percent of all VA facilities have reduced their opioid prescribing rates over the same period.

In a statement, the VA indicated its providers have focused on safe opioid use and on steadily decreasing prescription rates. It said the VA has been using physical therapy, yoga, cognitive-behavioral therapy, chiropractic care and battlefield acupuncture. Battlefield acupuncture is one of the larger programs the VA has developed and it is "having significant anecdotal benefits and satisfaction," the statement said.

The data released Thursday was compiled by the VA’s Opioid Safety Initiative, which aims to “promote safe prescribing practices and to address the broader opioid epidemic in the United States,” according to the report.

In 2012, the Roseburg VA also topped the national chart, with an opioid prescription rate of 28 percent.

Other Oregon facilities had lower rates overall, and also made more substantial reductions to opioid prescription rates. The Portland VA Medical Center showed a steep 43 percent drop in opioid prescriptions, from 25 percent in 2012 to 14 percent in 2017. White City dropped 46 percent over the same period, from 18 percent in 2012 to 10 percent in 2017.

The lowest rates in the country are at the Louis Stokes Cleveland VA in Ohio and the San Juan VA in Puerto Rico, which both had a 3 percent opioid prescription rate.

The report also indicates whether opioid prescription rates are high, average or low for Medicare Part D claims at non-VA facilities in each region, based on data from the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services. Prescription rates for Oregon are considered high by the CMS, but at 7.24 percent, they are considerably lower than the VA rates.

Dr. Bret Hansen from the Oregon Surgery Center in Roseburg told The News-Review in October that four out of five heroin users in Oregon begin with pain killers, and 70 percent of those start from a drug cabinet. In 2016, 110 people died in Oregon from opioids, he said.

A Roseburg VA spokesman said this morning that officials were working on a response to the report and would have a statement later today.

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Senior Reporter

Carisa Cegavske is the senior reporter for The News-Review. She can be reached at 541-957-4213 or by email at ccegavske@nrtoday.com. Follow her on Twitter @carisa_cegavske

(3) comments

NJ

From the NR article: https://www.nrtoday.com/news/health/trying-to-solve-the-opioid-problem-in-douglas-county/article_f28a0bc9-b333-5c89-af0a-2933052644e5.html Dr. Bret Hanson indicates; "“The bottom line is the crisis in America is because of prescriptions, and the prescriptions are written by the doctors, so the doctors are the problem,” he said." "In the past, doctors have been encouraged to prescribe more than the patient needs, Hansen said,"

One has to ask, is this a doctor issue, or an issue up the chain by "those" who encouraged doctors to over-prescribe. To fix the issue we have to get to the core of it.

I assert that if the money were followed it would land squarely on government's influence by the powerful Big Pharma Lobby. Seems each new drug created by Big Pharma secures its place via human trials and those are done in hospitals, to patients who never question what they're being given. When they are questioned, are told by nurses that "they don't know, pharmacy sends them up and we just give them to you". These human trials are not gathering information on how safe the drug is, but only done to say one was done and that lends credibility to the drug itself. Watch a drug commercial lately? Do you catch how many new synthetic drugs carry increasingly damaging side effects, but you should talk to your doctor about taking this new drug which could cause you to die...or clear up your rash, your choice. Big Pharma is now placing the "demand and supply" mind set on patients to go ahead, ask for that drug. Yes, it might cause fatal damage to your liver, but wow, your skin looks great. Fix the issue with Big Pharma's Lobby on our government and let doctors be doctors instead of forcing them to be Corporate shills.

Despacito

Well, another number one for Doug Paxton. First, a one star rating for the hospital leads & now he is number one in leading the opioid crisis in our veterans. What a guy!

just me

keep them doped up and they wont say a thing

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