This is a copy of the letter that we are giving to our patients who use opiate pain medicine as part of their treatment:
We are writing to you because part of your care involves opioid medicines. As you likely know, there is an epidemic of prescription drug misuse in this area of the country. Opioid pain medicines are not inherently evil but they do have certain properties that (like all medicines, really) can cause problems for people – even if they are taken as directed. Of course, if one takes these medicines in ways other than intended, or takes more than directed or mixes with other substances – it can be very dangerous!
One of the ways that we can help protect patients and ourselves is through having a thorough understanding of expectations. Therefore, if you have not filled out a Pain Medicine Contract you will likely be asked to do so shortly. Additionally, it is our policy to ask patients who use opioid medicines regularly to submit random toxicology tests. Please understand that this is NOT an accusation or personal issue, it simply safe protocol at SHFM.
Additionally, should you any concerns about your medicines at all – whether about usage, over-usage, alternatives, and especially if have questions of tolerance or addiction, feel free to ask at anytime. We are very willing to help and it is always better for all if patients broach the subject rather than the providers do. We have resources to assist patients who may require them.
Joshua M. Usen, DO Angelika Snyder, DO Jennifer J Barwell, PA-C Dawn M Dolan, PA-C