VA reps to discuss impact of opioid reduction on suicides during summit – By Nate Morabito Published: January 16, 2018
I’m thrilled to see this finally being brought to light and publicly discussed.
According to the summit’s agenda, those VA employees will discuss, among other things, Department of Veterans Affairs’ data that shows, “In two sets of fiscal years — 2010-2011 and 2013-2014 — opioid discontinuation was not associated with overdose mortality but was associated with increased suicide mortality.”
Someone finally made this an official issue, officially stated and officially documented. This is a small but significant first step.
A VA spokesperson confirmed the federal agency’s involvement with the analysis and summit.
“VA will be participating in the 2018 National Rx Drug Abuse and Heroin Summit, where representatives will discuss this preliminary data, which must still undergo peer review before being considered final,” Curt Cashour said.
As we reported Monday, the Department of Veterans Affairs Recently released data that shows Mountain Home VA Medical Center reduced opioid prescribing by 49% between 2012 and 2017.
This figure is horrific, not heroic. Taking away necessary medication from patients is not something to celebrate.
Chief of Staff Dr. David Hecht said Mountain Home VA continues to monitor patients for any serious side effects.
“Any time we reduce these medications, we want to do them in a safe environment whether it’s as an in-patient or close monitoring as an outpatient,” Dr. Hecht said. “Reduction of these medications can have significant side effects, so we follow them closely.”
Inciting depression to the point of suicide is not just a “side effect”.