Like addiction itself, awareness of the rapidly spreading epidemic of prescription opioid abuse only dawned on the American public after the problem had spun out of control.

The American Society of Addiction Medicine reported that:

Many U.S. hospitals and local health systems have tackled this problem head on with original policies, programs and initiatives. Here are three novel approaches:

St. Joseph’s Regional Medical Center has garnered international media attention for its policy of using opioids only as a last resort. Instead, they authorize use of non-opioid pain relievers, such as trigger-point injections, nerve blocks and avoiding opioids whenever possible; for example, in cases of kidney stones, acute low-back pain, broken bones, acute headache and migraine pain. Because the hospital is located in Paterson, New Jersey, just 50 miles from New York City, St. Joseph’s operates one of...

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