Joint Commission Alert Warns of Opioid Overuse Risks in Hospitals

Concerned over the increasing number of medication-related errors linked to opioid overuse, the Joint Commission recently released a warning, asking hospitals to take steps to avoid complications from the overuse of opiates.

Commonly used opioids in hospitals include morphine, methadone and oxycodone. These are drugs that are used very frequently in medical facilities. Unfortunately, they are also linked to several cases of medication errors every year.

According to the Joint Commission, which issued the alert, hospital workers must be aware about the risks to patients when they’re prescribing opioids. Some of the more common errors in prescribing opioids may be administration errors, or dosage errors in which the wrong dosage is administered to the patient. Staff may also fail to monitor patients properly after they have been given the opioids, therefore, exposing the patient to the risk of complications.

According to the Joint Commission, opioid medications are one of the top 3 drugs that are involved in medication-related adverse events every year. These are also some of the drugs that are most frequently linked to adverse drug events.

The Joint Commission recommends that hospitals use strategies to conduct frequent and continuous oversight of patients receiving these medications. They should also support a well-established system for the review of opioid-based treatment plants as well as the tracking and monitoring of adverse incidents linked to the use of opioids.

The statistics indicate to Los Angeles medical malpractice lawyers that overdose-related fatalities linked to opioid drug use have increased substantially by nearly 4 times between 1999 and 2008. These drugs were linked to approximately 74% of all prescription drug-related fatalities in 2008.