The U.S. opioid epidemic has a devastating impact on patients, communities and hospitals. According to government sources, there were more than 14,000 prescription opioid overdose deaths in 2014 alone, with more than 1,000 emergency department visits every day for prescription opioid misuse. Across America, hospitals are working hard to combat the epidemic. Knowledge and improved patient/physician communication are essential tools in this fight, and in effective pain management. This week, the AHA joined with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to release a new resource to help hospitals foster more effective and fact-based conversations between patients and physicians about opioids, the risks and the alternatives. The one-page resource, developed with input from subject matter and hospital clinical and behavioral health experts, is an important addition to the growing number of AHA opioid abuse resources already available. We appreciate partnering with CDC to help hospitals and physicians work directly with patients to better manage pain and live healthier, more productive lives. We will continue developing new resources to help fight this epidemic and support the role of hospitals as part of the solution.  

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