The Staten Island Performing Provider System is encouraging clinicians to take an oath to follow national evidence-based guidelines when prescribing opioids. The System is a coalition of borough hospitals as well as medical and social service professionals. The pledge requires doctors to screen patients for potential opioid addiction, confirm patients have not sought out painkillers elsewhere and ask patients to sign contracts mandating safe medical use. According to the Staten Island District Attorney's office, 80 percent of people who suffer from opioid overdoses first fueled their addiction when they were taking prescription pills.
"The ability to impact that and, as you said, nip it in the bud early. It's the chance we have right now and we want to capitalize on that," said Staten Island Performing Provider System Executive Director Joseph Conte.
The D. A. says there have been 22 opioid overdose deaths and 51 saves this year... compared to last year when he says the borough averaged one overdose per day.