Prescription to End Painkiller Misuse: New Workgroup Launched in Alameda County

More than 60 people representing various sectors of the health care safety net gathered in Downtown Oakland on May 28 to launch a new workgroup to address the rise in painkiller overprescribing and misuse in Alameda County.

Participants included primary care providers, pain specialists, substance abuse counselors, case managers, program administrators, health plan representatives, and other service providers working with the county’s residents with low incomes. The daylong meeting began with presentations about current efforts in Alameda County, and the afternoon involved discussions about collaborative actions the group can take to address this complex issue in the safety net.

In small groups, participants discussed the pros and cons of several approaches, as well as listed potential partners and concrete action items. A vote revealed the following approaches as priorities for action:

  • Bolstering nonopioid treatments for chronic pain
  • Setting community standards
  • Enhancing public action on opioid misuse
  • Developing clinical guidelines for managing chronic pain

The full meeting summary is available as a Document Download.