In a small, randomized trial, researchers showed that this intervention—aimed at making the abstract issue of safe prescribing individually tangible—led to a slight reduction in the amount of opioids these clinicians prescribed. What’s more, prescribers who received the letters doled out fewer of the most powerful doses and appeared to start fewer patients on opioids compared with doctors who did not receive the letters.
Authors of the study published Thursday and experts not involved with the research urged other communities around the country to adopt the same strategy.
“Hearing about one person’s death can be really impactful,” said Jason Doctor, the lead author of the study and an expert in behavioral science and policy at the University of Southern California. “People often don’t change their behavior unless they have a really salient, personal experience.”
This is a really cool strategy, I think. Following up with doctors about the results of prescriptions can help guide their future decisions. I think that’s why a lot of doctors turn to cannabis – they’ve seen the results of both cannabis and opiates, and realize that cannabis is a better alternative in a lot of cases.