Best Practice E) Narcotic Guidelines

Goal:  Reduce drug-seeking and drug-dispensing to frequent ED users
Many frequent ED users are also drug seekers. One way hospitals can reduce unncessary ED visits is to change policies around narcotics prescribing in the ED.

How to Accomplish

Several hosptials have successfully reduced the number of drug seeking patients in their EDs by changing their prescribing policies to conform with ACEP guidelines, which include:

  • Prohibiting long-acting opioids and discourage injections
  • Screening patients for substance abuse
  • Referring patients suspected of Rx abuse to treatment

Hospitals should also Train ER prescribers in these narcotic guidelines and consider joining the “oxy-free” movement.


ACEP Narcotics Guidelines

Franciscan Health System Emergency Services Policy on Controlled Substances

Patient Education Materials from the Washington State Department of Health

Policy: Narcotic Guidelines (sample policy)