West Virginia continues to lead the nation, and world, in drug overdoses, which makes one ponder what is being done at the “ground zero” of the opioid epidemic to save and improve lives. Where better than where it’s worst should some of the possible solutions come from? In 2016, an interprofessional panel of experts in pain management—ranging from medicine, osteopathy, nursing, pharmacy, dentistry; public health; the state PDMP; and representatives from insurance providers—was put together with aims of finding possible solutions. The West Virginia Safe & Effective Management of Pain (SEMP) Guidelines (www.sempguidelines.org) were developed to facilitate the shift of the best practices in pain management becoming the new standard of care. The SEMP Guidelines include 2 main components including the risk reduction strategy and the clinical treatment algorithms. Pain management algorithms are not available anywhere else in the entire world! So we would like to welcome you to “the West Virginia Way” and see just how the “wild and wonderful” state of West Virginia is approaching the opioid epidemic from a true ground zero. After all, if it works where it’s worst, how could it not help your state or your practice?
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