Dangerous Prescribing Found in VA Audit

the MPR take:

A review by the Veterans Affairs Office of Inspector General (OIG) has discovered that 92.6% of veterans who are chronically prescribed opioid medications have also been prescribed benzodiazepines, a combination that has been strongly associated with opioid overdose mortality. The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs’ (VA) required that veterans undergo urine pre-tests prior to receiving opioid therapy to prevent addiction, but the audit found that this occurred in only 7.6% of new patients. Approximately one-third of veterans taking opioids were treated with these medications for >90 days.

The auditors recommended that the VA should ensure the following:

  • VA’s practice of routine and random urine drug tests prior to initiating and during take-home opioid therapy to confirm the appropriate use of opioids is in alignment with acceptable standards.
  • Opioid patients with active (not in remission) substance use receive treatment for substance use concurrently with urine drug tests.
  • VA’s practice of prescribing and dispensing benzodiazepines concurrently with opioids is in alignment with acceptable standards.

Dangerous Prescribing Found in VA Audit
Dangerous Prescribing Found in VA Audit

VA medical centers defied some agency policies on supplying opiates to veterans in 2012, including simultaneously prescribing thousands of ex-troops with narcotic painkillers and psychoactive drugs -– a combination that's been linked to lethal overdoses, a new audit shows. The review, conducted ...

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