Baton Rouge, La. (October 4, 2018) – The Louisiana Department of Health recently released its Voluntary Non-Opioid Directive Form as a new tactic in the fight against opioid abuse.

Those who sign the form pledge to refuse the offer or administration of opioid medications from their health care practitioner or attending physician. The form also releases health care providers, their administration and personnel from responsibility for the consequences of the patient’s opioid refusal. The signed document, which also receives the health care practitioner’s signature, goes into the patient’s medical file.

The patient or a person authorized to act on the patient’s behalf may revoke the non-opioid directive for any reason at any time.

“This form is one more way people can join the battle against opioid abuse in our communities,” said Dr. Rebekah Gee, secretary. “By taking the pledge against opioids, we are keeping more of these medications out of our homes and off the streets, potentially saving lives from the devastation that addiction can bring.”

The Voluntary Non-Opioid Directive Form was created through the 2018 Legislature’s passage of Senate Bill 90. The bill authorizes the creation and distribution of a voluntary non-opioid directive form; the provision of a voluntary prescription opioid opt-out opportunity for patients; and immunity for medical practitioners regarding patients’ refusal of opioid medications.

Opioid abuse has become a public health crisis for Louisiana, with the number of deaths more than doubling from 2011 to 2015. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, more than 1,000 people died from an overdose in Louisiana in 2016, surpassing the number of deaths from motor vehicle accidents, homicides or suicides.

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