Source: NJ.com/Jersey Journal
Christ Hospital is making a name for itself as a national leader on the opioid epidemic, becoming the second hospital in the U.S. to stop the use of the addictive prescription drugs in its emergency department.
The hospital, part of the CarePoint Health chain, showed off its facilities to the state’s commissioner of health and received a nod of approval for the way it’s fighting the opioid epidemic. Dr. Shereef Elnahal, the state’s Department of Health commissioner.
“The only way to really bring someone out of the cycle of overdose and into recovery is to connect them to longer term care and that includes addiction treatment,” Dr. Elnahal says, seeing Christ Hospital as “a model for doing that.”
There have been 2,032 overdose deaths in the state so far this year — a dramatic spike from 2016, when there were 1,409 opioid-related overdose deaths in the entire year.
“There are better drugs out there that are not opioids and that are not addictive,” said Dr. Peter “Tucker” Woods, Christ Hospital’s chief hospital executive. He noted that Christ Hospital is a “trailblazer in the nation” in providing patients with cost-effective alternatives to opioids, such as nitrous oxide and lidocaine.
“We want to be a part of the solution — we can’t just watch this problem drive by. We want to do something about it.”
The decision to go nearly opioid-free in the ER came in response to the growing national epidemic and a commitment to be part of the solution. “We are proud of the work we are doing not only to address the opioid epidemic, but also to provide important health care services to the entire Hudson County community,” said Dr. Natasha Deckmann, CarePoint Health’s CEO.
“We thank Commissioner Elnahal for visiting Christ Hospital to see the firsthand impact our doctors, nurses and healthcare professionals are making, and the innovations we are continuing to develop.”
Two other CarePoint Health hospitals, Bayonne Medical Center and Hoboken University Medical Center, have also adopted the non-opioid policy.