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Philadelphia asks doctors to prescribe non-opioids first

Heidi Wyandt, 27, holds a handful of her medication bottles at the Altoona Center for Clinical Research in Altoona, Pa., on Wednesday, March 29, 2017, where she is helping test an experimental non-opioid pain medication for chronic back pain related to a work related injury she received in 2014. (Chris Post/AP Photo)

Heidi Wyandt, 27, holds a handful of her medication bottles at the Altoona Center for Clinical Research in Altoona, Pa., on Wednesday, March 29, 2017, where she is helping test an experimental non-opioid pain medication for chronic back pain related to a work related injury she received in 2014. (Chris Post/AP Photo)

Philadelphia is trying to get doctors to prescribe fewer opioids to patients recovering from surgery through voluntary guidelines published for surgeons.

If the guidelines are followed, Health Commissioner Thomas Farley said it will mean far fewer opioid pills prescribed in the city.

“If all the surgeons in Philadelphia use these guidelines, this will reduce the use of opioids after surgery by more than 80 percent,” he said.

The guidelines call for using non-opioid pain treatments instead, which Farley says studies show are better for pain management.

If people don’t receive opioids in the first place, they won’t have an opportunity to be hooked on them, according to Mayor Jim Kenney.

“It’s an unnecessary struggle because all of this is self-inflicted because of what’s going on in the pharmacy industry, in the medical profession, and in our streets everyday,” Kenney said.

The guidelines were developed through research and discussion with the three hospital systems serving the region.

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