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Opioid Response at IHS

The Indian Health Service (IHS) is committed to improving the way opioids are prescribed to ensure patients have access to safe, long-term, chronic pain treatments that reduce the risk of prescription misuse, abuse, overdose, and diversion. The IHS opioid strategy [PDF - 496 KB] was directly informed by the National Pain Strategy and has since evolved to directly align with the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services(HHS) Opioid Strategy.

The comprehensive IHS response includes key agency policy requirements and various support structures to assist with implementation of these policies. The goals of our interventions are to:

  • Increase and encourage involvement of the patient and family in the care planning process
  • Increase provider and work-force training opportunities for prescribers and front-line clinicians on evidence-based practices and effectively utilize data to make improvement decisions
  • Increase community awareness surrounding opioids and Opioid Use Disorders
  • Evaluate and improve health system perceptions and beliefs surrounding substance use disorders
  • Increase access to and use of clinical decision-making tools and technical resources to improve patient safety

Opioid Stewardship Workbook

Opioid Stewardship is a key part of IHS's overall strategy to improve outcomes for patients diagnosed with chronic pain syndrome or opioid use disorder (OUD). Effective opioid stewardship strategies emphasize safe opioid prescribing, team-based care, leadership support, are action-oriented, and use data to inform decisions. The Bemidji Area IHS has created a workbook [PDF - 1.1 MB] that can serve as a template for local service unit opioid stewardship implementation.

IHS Pain Management Website