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Eighty urgent care centers in Los Angeles County, California are closing ranks in an effort to stem runaway abuse of opioid analgesics. Working in concert with the county health department, Safe Med LA signees pledge to follow opioid prescribing guidelines established by the American Academy of Emergency Medicine; to consider screening more patients for opioid misuse or addiction; and to stop refilling “lost” opioid prescriptions and scripts written for chronic pain. Urgent care centers started seeing a surge of patients seeking opioid drugs after all 76 emergency department in the county adopted the prescribing guidelines last year. If a physician determines that an opioid medication truly is most appropriate for a patient, the guidelines call for prescribing a 3-day supply, at most, of the lowest effective dose. All told, 10 major physician groups and health systems are represented in the group, including Kaiser Permanente, UCLA, and Health Care Partners.

Urgent Care Signs Up for the War Against Opioid Abuse