Morehouse Parish doctors shying away from over-prescribing opioids

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MOREHOUSE PARISH, La. (KNOE) - Morehouse Parish doctors and nurses are thinking twice before prescribing opioids. The Center for Disease and Control says overprescribing for too many days at too high of a dose is fueling the opioid abuse epidemic the U.S. is seeing.

Northeast Louisiana hospitals joining in on the fight to opioid abuse.

Rhonda Beard is a Nurse Practitioner for Morehouse Community Medical Center. She is traveling all over Northeast Louisiana to talk about the problem with communities.

"It is the leading cause of death today in America," Beard said. "We've changed prescribing methods here."

She says MCMC understands the root of the problem, so now, they are making changes. Beard says they are prescribing medicines that are not as addictive but will still help with chronic pain.

"By being more responsible about how we prescribe and trying to find alternative methods of treatments for the chronic pain itself," Beard said. "We have partnered with several other entities to help with the suboxone treatment, and they also provide methadone treatment for those that aren't able to take the suboxone."

In 2015, doctors prescribed enough opioids for every American, to be medicated, around the clock, for three weeks, according to the CDC. Beard says that should not be the case knowing the addiction dangers.

"I feel like we need to treat that patient holistically to provide every type of care possible for the vulnerable population that we serve," Beard said.

Christy Merriweather is MCMC's spokesperson. She said they want the community, or anyone struggling to know they are here to help.

"We are here to help and provide services for those people and try to get them some help they need," she said. "And improve lives, strengthen community partnership and most importantly provide resources."

MCMC is hosting another public meeting on Wednesday, Dec. 6th, at Willie Davis Recreational Center in Farmerville. It starts at 6 p.m.