An Indiana not-for-profit is creating an app to teach doctors methods to help curb the state's opioid epidemic.
The Richard M. Fairbanks Foundation awarded $230,000 to the Indiana State Medical Association this week to develop the app and an accompanying podcast. The app will offer information about alternative treatment options such as ice, acupuncture and massage, The Indianapolis Star reported.
"The opioid epidemic isn't over yet," said Claire Fiddian-Green, president and CEO of the foundation. "We really need to focus on prevention. We believe this program is a step in the right direction."
Drug overdose deaths in Indiana have increased by 500 percent since 1999, the governor's office said. Some experts believe doctors contribute to the opioid epidemic by over-prescribing pain pills, which can lead to using illegal drugs such as heroin and fentanyl.
"Historically physicians have been part of the problem," said Dr. John P. McGoff, president of the association. "We're trying to be part of the solution by making sure that physicians appropriately prescribe opiates."
The app will help doctors meet a new state requirement for opioid-prescription training. Lawmakers approved a bill this year that mandates all doctors undergo at least two hours of such training every two years.
"Physicians want to get their information in snippets," McGoff said. "This new app and podcast will allow them to obtain this education when it's most convenient."
The app will be free to health care providers. It is expected to be released later this year.