Medical board sending Georgia’s doctors to opioid training


Every doctor in Georgia must get training on proper prescribing of opioids under a rule approved Thursday morning by the Georgia Composite Medical Board.

“Almost everybody in the state knows we are in the midst of an opioid epidemic right now,” said Dr. E. Dan DeLoach, a plastic surgeon from Savannah who is the chairman of the medical board. “We’re seeing the number of people addicted to opioids increase on an annual basis. We’re seeing the number of people dying from an opioid overdose increase on an annual basis.”

Opioids killed more than 33,000 people in 2015, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Since 1999, the amount of prescription opioids sold nationally nearly quadrupled, the CDC has reported, even though Americans did not report a major change in pain during that same period.

The new training required for Georgia doctors will cover instruction on the guidelines for proper prescribing, as well as recognizing signs of abuse of the highly-addictive drugs.

DeLoach said the board hopes that doctors may cut back opioid prescribing as a result of the training, something he said many Georgia doctors have already done as the problems associated with the medications have become widespread.

“I’ve decreased the number of opioids that I write probably by 70 or 80 percent,” DeLoach said. “There are other agents that are available. You can also better tailor the number of tablets that you are prescribing so that there are not a lot of medication that is left over that could fall into the wrong hands.”

The Medical Association of Georgia, the state’s lobby arm for physicians, opposed the requirement. The group said it is concerned that mandating continuing education on a single issue could lead to requirements for specific training on other issues as well. MAG said it supported voluntary training on opioids.



Reader Comments ...


Next Up in Local

Escaped inmate in custody after chase, gunfire by marshals
Escaped inmate in custody after chase, gunfire by marshals

An inmate who escaped from a state facility in metro Atlanta was captured in North Georgia after a chase and shots fired by federal marshals, the GBI said. Hernan Quijano, 25, is in the Whitfield County jail after the confrontation late Wednesday, GBI agent Greg Ramey said in a news release. <div></div><br><blockquote class="...
Atlanta mayoral election results certified, but legal challenge looms
Atlanta mayoral election results certified, but legal challenge looms

The Fulton County election board’s vice chairman abstained from voting to re-certify results from the Atlanta mayor’s race on Saturday, arguing that the board hadn’t adequately addressed questions about the validity of votes from recently annexed areas of the city. The meeting of Fulton County election board that re-certified...
How key Georgia priorities fared in the final GOP tax plan
How key Georgia priorities fared in the final GOP tax plan

WASHINGTON — After weeks of tinkering, GOP leaders are out with their final tax bill. As far as we know, all 12 Georgia Republicans plan to back the once-in-a-generation overhaul, which is expected to come up for a vote in both chambers of Congress early next week. Check out our colleague Jamie Dupree’s ...
Fire stations in line for $300K in security improvements
Fire stations in line for $300K in security improvements

Firefighters in Forsyth County are likely feeling safer after several  personal vehicles were targeted in burglaries earlier this year. Commissioners voted this week to authorize $300,000 in security improvements at 13 stations, Division Chief Jason Shivers said. The action is obviously welcome by firefighters. “It’s become almost...
Iowa sisters reunited days before one dies in school bus fire
Iowa sisters reunited days before one dies in school bus fire

For the second time in her life, Paige Hough had to say goodbye to her sister. This time, it was permanent. Hough was separated from her sister 10 years ago when her family put 6-year-old Megan Klindt up for adoption. Days after the sisters reconnected this month, Megan was killed when an Iowa school bus caught fire after rolling into a ditch...
More Stories