Will opiate shortages become the new opioid crisis?

Opiate addiction has been deemed a "public health emergency" by HHS, but hospitals may have to prepare to face a different opioid crisis — a shortage of the medications hospitals use to manage pain, according to WPTV.

The FDA currently lists various injections of morphine, fentanyl and hydomorphine as being in short supply due to increased demand and manufacturing delays. In addition, more than 40 states have banded together to investigate the makers and distributors of opioid painkillers, which may also impact drug supply.

According to David Soria, MD, chief of emergency medicine at Wellington (Fla.) Regional Medical Center, hospitals should be aware of the potential shortages to prepare staff and alert patients.

"There is an up and coming national shortage that may impact the way we are able to care for our patients nationwide, not just here at Wellington," Dr. Soria said, according to WPTV. 

Wellington Regional Medical Center is also encouraging staff to think about alternative treatments to opioids to manage pain to ensure that opiates are available to patients with traumatic injuries.

"We are certainly being prepared and being very proactive in anticipation of a shortage…" Dr. Soria added. "Right now, all we know is that there are manufacturing delays. We don't know if that's going to be for days, weeks, months, or permanently."

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