Oregon’s senior senator is worried drug manufacturers may be unduly influencing a federal opioid abuse workshop.

Oregon’s senior senator is worried drug manufacturers may be unduly influencing a federal opioid abuse workshop.

Guian Boilsay / Flickr

The nation is in the middle of an opioid abuse epidemic. And Oregon is trying to find out just how many prescriptions are written in emergency departments — and then reduce them.

State health officer Katrina Hedberg said Thursday it’s not that they want to stop people who’ve had a car crash from getting pain pills. But state health officials want people suffering from long-term issues, such as back pain, to use alternative treatments like physical therapy and massage instead of opioids.

Hedberg said they’ve adopted a three-point plan: First, when an opioid is needed, it should be prescribed in the lowest dose.

Additionally, Hedberg said it also “needs to be immediate release, not long-acting or long-release. And should be prescribed for no greater quantity than is needed for the expected duration of the pain.”

If the federal government gives permission, Oregon will adopt Washington state’s metric for measuring opioid use. And after a year of measuring, Oregon will develop a plan for how much to cut back.