September 23, 2019
Richmond, VA — HCA Virginia’s Johnston-Willis Hospital has introduced a new initiative through its Emergency Department that focuses on alternatives to opioids (ALTO) as a first resort in treating pain.
ALTO is a program of the National Academy of Medicine’s action collaborative on countering the U.S. opioid epidemic in an effort to reduce the misuse and abuse through alternative pain management strategies. The program is designed to help providers positively impact the opioid epidemic through administering non-opiate medications that have been proven to be equally as effective as opioids for pain management.
“Our goal is to effectively manage the pain of our emergency patients and to return them to a maximum quality of life, without the need to introduce opioids and the inherent risks that come with these highly addictive medications,” said Ajit Singh, M.D., chief medical officer of Johnston-Willis Hospital. “We are committed to the health and safety of our patients and look forward to the positive impact this can have on our community.”
According to National Institutes of Health’s National Institute on Drug Abuse, there were 1,241 drug overdose deaths involving opioids in Virginia—a rate of 14.8 deaths per 100,000 persons, compared to the national rate of 14.6 deaths per 100,000 persons.
Earlier this month, Chippenham and Johnston-Willis Hospitals also partnered with local law enforcement as part of the first ever enterprise-wide initiative called “Crush the Crisis,” which focuses on helping combat the misuse of opioids. A team of hospital representatives set up a collection site at Swift Creek Emergency Center, where community members were able to turn in unused and expired opioids for safe disposal.
“We believe this is an important step in reversing the opioid epidemic in Central Virginia,” said Singh. “This issue is impacting far too many members of our community and it is time that we begin to lead the change.”