Valley View Hospital joins project to tighten opioid prescriptions |

Valley View Hospital joins project to tighten opioid prescriptions

Alex Zorn
Glenwood Springs Post Independent

Valley View Hospital in Glenwood Springs has joined the ALTO Project, a statewide initiative to reduce the number of prescription opioids administered by hospital emergency rooms, as health officials throughout the country seek to reduce prescription misuse.

The hospital joined the initiative weeks before the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services awarded over $1 billion in opioid-specific grants, including nearly $22.3 million in opioid related funding to help Colorado combat the crisis, according to the press release.

The Health Resources and Services Administration is awarding $25.5 million to over 120 rural organizations in order to increase access to substance abuse prevention and treatment services in rural communities as part of the $1 billion for opioid-related grants. That includes $200,000 for Memorial Hospital in Craig, according to the HRSA website.

Colorado has the 12th-highest rate of prescription opioid misuse and abuse, according to the hospital’s press release. And, with overdoses continually prevalent in the valley, including some recent deaths, health officials throughout Garfield County say they want to help.

At Mind Springs Health in Glenwood Springs, Case Manager Rachel Cassabon and her colleagues work with patients to connect them with resources and other agencies that support addiction.

“At Mind Springs Health, we can help build a foundation for recovery for substance abuse,” Cassabon said. “Substance abuse doesn’t discriminate to anyone.”

While recovery resources are available throughout the area, Valley View is working to get opioids out of the hands of potential addicts.

Due to new protocols and education at Valley View, there has been a decrease in patients administered opioids in the emergency department, according to Valley View Emergency Department Administrative Director Laurale Cross.

According to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, the number of Americans misusing opioids dropped for the second year in a row.

From January 2017 through August 2018, the amount of opioids prescribed in the U.S. has dropped by 21 percent, according to data from SAMHSA. And the number of prescriptions filled for buprenorphine, one form of medication-assisted treatment for opioid overdose, has risen 16 percent, according to the release.