Combating Opioid Abuse in Indiana

Left to right: Brian Tabor, president, Indiana Hospital Association; Dr. John McGoff, president, Indiana State Medical Association; Dr. Kris Box, Indiana state health commissioner; Dr. Nancy Kennedy, chief medical officer, Dearborn County Hospital; Jim McClelland, executive director for Drug Prevention, Treatment, and Enforcement for the State of Indiana; and Julie Reed, executive vice president, Indiana State Medical Association

Hoosier Hospitals Commit to New Acute Prescribing Guidelines

Battling the opioid crisis is a top priority for hospitals across Indiana. This winter, Hoosier hospitals are demonstrating their commitment to addressing the crisis by pledging to adopt new prescribing guidelines for the outpatient management of acute pain. The Indiana Hospital Association (IHA), the Indiana State Medical Association (ISMA), and the Indiana State Department of Health (ISDH) collaborated on the development of the new guidelines as part of their ongoing efforts to battle the opioid epidemic in Indiana.

“Providing doctors with these additional guidelines to use when prescribing opioids is a step toward reducing the impact of opioid addiction in Indiana,” said Dr. Kristina Box, Indiana state health commissioner. “Our hope is that these guidelines will help physicians manage patients’ pain responsibly and encourage both doctors and patients to explore pain management options that do not include the use of highly addictive opioids.”

The Indiana Prescribing Guidelines for the Management of Acute Pain provide a general approach to addressing acute pain without supplanting the clinical judgment of prescribers. The guidelines recognize that each patient’s needs are unique and serve as a complement to the Indiana Guidelines for Opioid Prescribing in the Emergency Department and the Indiana Chronic Pain Management Prescribing Rule.

“ISMA is committed to implementing solutions to combat Indiana’s opioid crisis,” said Julie Reed, ISMA executive vice president. “We have partnered on these guidelines to help providers manage pain while reducing the risk of dependency or overdose in the future.”

Death by drug overdose has increased in Indiana by 500 percent since 1999. Today, Hoosiers are more likely to die due to drug overdose than in a car accident. Opioid abuse also takes a toll on the health of Indiana’s economy, ultimately costing the state $1.5 billion each year due to increased health care costs, lost productivity, criminal justice costs, and premature death.

“The opioid crisis is negatively impacting families and hard-working Hoosiers in communities across the state,” said Brian Tabor, president of IHA. “Hospitals are committed to long-term solutions such as expanding treatment options and removing the stigma of substance abuse. These guidelines are a critical step in ensuring that fewer Hoosiers develop an opioid addiction in the first place.”


A six-part webinar series launching this spring will help IHA members address five priority areas in addressing opioid misuse and abuse, including the new prescribing guidelines. The webinars will be held on the following dates:

  • April 10: Adopt ED Opioid Prescribing Guidelines
  • April 24: Adopt Acute Pain Opioid Prescribing Guidelines
  • May 22: Accelerate Prescriber Education
  • June 12: Increase Community Engagement
  • July 10: Review Prescribing Patterns
  • Aug. 14: Review Safe Handling Procedures

Each webinar will include an overview of the priority area and a presentation from a member hospital detailing its work and success. More information and registration is available at