Opioid overdoses are behind 115 deaths on average in the U.S. every day. But opioid use among children has received little attention until now.
In the Pacific Northwest, we developed a program to replace codeine, an opioid, with non-addictive painkillers after removing children's tonsils. Codeine is known to increase the risk of breathing problems and death in kids.
Within 18 months of launching the program, our team in Oregon and Southern Washington reduced prescribed opioids from 82 to 15 percent for their young patients.
And because of our electronic health record system, we quickly spread the program throughout the rest of our organization — lowering the use of opioids by 600 percent after tonsillectomies for children.