The Pennsylvania Medical Society is launching an education effort to help physicians and patients find treatment alternatives to highly addictive painkillers.
The doctors’ group on Tuesday recommended steps that physicians should take and posted prescribing guidelines and other materials online.
The steps include helping get treatment for patients who have a substance use disorder. Dr. David Talenti of the medical society said 80 percent of heroin addicts started out on an opioid prescription.
Nearly 10.4 million prescriptions for opioid medications were filled by patients in 2015, according to the medical society. That’s down from 11.3 million in 2014, and Talenti said physicians have significantly improved their awareness of the problem in the past three years.
The Wolf administration has said heroin and opioid overdoses are Pennsylvania’s leading cause of accidental deaths.