New Guidelines from the CDC

The new guidelines urge doctors to take it easy in prescribing the potentially killer drugs, making it clear that over prescribing is driving an epidemic of opioid addiction.  The guidelines encourage doctors to try something besides an opioid when first treating pain, even suggesting ice and talk therapy. And if opioids are the best choice, start with the lowest possible dose. The guidelines also suggest that patients question whether they need such strong drugs to control their chronic pain.

Key messages:

  • Don’t use opioids first. Try other methods such as Tylenol, ibuprofen or ice.
  • When using opioids for the treatment of acute pain 3 days of medication will usually suffice.
  • Talk to the patient about what they can expect. 100% pain-free may not be realistic or desirable.
  • Make sure the patient knows the risks.
  • Never start with the long-acting opiates and use the lowest possible dose.

CDC Link: Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report (MMWR)
The Guidelines: CDC Guidelines 2016

5th Annual Thoughtful Approach to Chronic Pain: May 20-21, 2016

The appropriate treatment of chronic pain is an evolving, and sometimes controversial, practice. This conference presents information on the use of opioids in Oregon, community effects of opioid prescribing, current best practices for the treatment of chronic pain, and how medicine and community justice interface around prescription opioids use.
Where: Smullin Education Center, Medford, Oregon
Who: All Health Care Professionals
Registration: CME registration
Details: Conference Brochure

  • Conference Brochure

Who we are

The Oregon Pain Guidance group (OPG) is a diverse group of healthcare professionals from Jackson and Josephine Counties. The group was formed to engage healthcare professionals and community partners on the current opioid problem, to learn best practices for managing complex, chronic non-cancer pain (CCNP) and to bring them into standardized, general use in Southern Oregon. MORE >>

Death Rate Rising for Middle-Aged Whites

White, middle-aged Americans are dying at a rising rate, a new study shows, a startling reversal that suggests addiction and mental-health issues are setting back decades of gains in longevity. Suicide, alcohol abuse, drug overdoses and chronic liver diseases largely drove the rise, which occurred between 1999 and 2013, according to the report published Monday in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

NPR - Heroin Epidemic in Southern Oregon

NPR reporter Liam Moriarty has a series of interviews with Dr. Jim Shames and other healthcare professionals about the alarming rise in heroin use and related overdose deaths. The addicts are not the stereotypes you might think. They are the professional next door. And many of them started by becoming dependent on opioids.


These guidelines are resources for local prescribers to help them understand and adopt best practices for the treatment of complex chronic non-cancer pain.

Naloxone—A Potential Lifesaver

Naloxone (Narcan) is now available for bystander use in Oregon. Currently all Medford Police officers are carrying naloxone in their patrol cars and we expect within a few months all law enforcement in Jackson County will be naloxone capable. Learn about Naloxone and Local Community Plans >>

Michelle's Story

12 years ago, Michelle fell off a balcony and broke her neck. As part of her initial treatment, she was given opioids for pain. She was dependent on opioids for the next 10 years. Two years ago she was tapered off opioids completely and “got her life back.” Listen to her story.

Chronic Pain Explained in 2.5 minutes

The team from Hunter Integrated Pain Service (HIPS), University of South Australia, University of Washington and Hunter Medicare Local (Hunter ML) have released a follow-up shorter video after their popular “Pain Explained in 5 Minutes” video. SEE MORE VIDEOS >>


Central Oregon Conference sponsored by OrCRM. Over 130 representatives from health systems, law enforcement, local government, substance abuse treatment agencies, and other local and state organizations heard speakers present the problems of prescription drug abuse. Attendees formed breakout groups to develop possible solutions.