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Albert B. Chandler Hospital

Office of Opioid Safety

Organizing to combat Kentucky’s opioid crisis

The opioid crisis continues to claim the lives of increasingly more Americans every year, with more than 1,500 deaths in Kentucky alone in 2017. 

While illicit fentanyl and heroin are the primary drivers of overdose mortality, prescription opioids account for nearly 90 percent of misused opioids in the United States. Additionally, increasing data suggests non-opioid therapies may work better than opioids for many types of pain.

About the Office of Opioid Safety

The University of Kentucky Office of Opioid Safety consists of a multidisciplinary team of healthcare providers working to reduce unnecessary opioid use and raise awareness within UK HealthCare and throughout Kentucky.

As the first such office in the Commonwealth, we aim to reduce inappropriate prescription opioid use through educational sessions for clinicians regarding safe opioid use and communication, resources for patients to aid with pain management, and real-time data analysis.  

Since the inception of the office in 2017, UK HealthCare has:

  • Reduced inpatient opioid use equivalent to more than 250,000 oxycodone 5mg tablets per year.
  • Reduced high-risk prescriptions by over half.
  • Improved overall pain ratings from hospitalized patients
  • Decreased opioid prescriptions at hospital discharge by an average of 25 per week.
  • Provided naloxone to more than 2,000 patients within the healthcare system.
  • Our team

    Doug Oyler, PharmD – Director

    Assistant Professor, Department of Pharmacy Practice and Science
    UK College of Pharmacy
    Director, Office of Opioid Safety, UK HealthCare

    Dr. Oyler is an assistant professor in the Department of Pharmacy Practice and Science at the University of Kentucky College of Pharmacy. He serves as the Director of the Office of Opioid Safety at the University of Kentucky. He has collaborated with the Kentucky Hospital Association, KASPER, and numerous other state and local entities to improve opioid use throughout Kentucky; additionally, he is a co-investigator for the largest research grant ever awarded to the University of Kentucky, the HEALing Communities Study, funded by the National Institute on Drug Abuse. His work in opioid stewardship has been featured in the American Journal of Health System Pharmacy, the Journal of Opioid Management, and the Journal of Trauma and Acute Care Surgery, among others. Dr. Oyler graduated from the University of Kentucky College of Pharmacy in 2010, where he then completed a pharmacy practice residency, a critical care specialty residency, and a fellowship in academia.

    Stephanie Abel, PharmD, BCPS

    Opioid Stewardship Program Coordinator -- UK HealthCare
    Office of Opioid Safety

    Dr. Abel is the Opioid Stewardship Program Coordinator at UK HealthCare. Prior to that she practiced as a Pain Management and Palliative Medicine Clinical Pharmacy Specialist at The Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center - James Cancer Hospital. She received her PharmD from Creighton University in Omaha, NE after which she completed a PGY-1 in Pharmacy Practice at The Medical University of South Carolina in Charleston, SC and a PGY-2 in Pain Management and Palliative Care at The Johns Hopkins Hospital in Baltimore, MD. She is a past Chair of the American College of Clinical Pharmacy Pain and Palliative Care Practice and Research Network, chair of the Advocacy Committee and previous Chair of the Nominations Committee for the Society of Pain and Palliative Care Pharmacists (SPPCP), and a member of the Opioid Stewardship Task Force for SPPCP. Stephanie has authored primary literature and book chapters on topics such as acute pain management in opioid tolerant patients. She has also been an invited speaker for many regional and national talks as well as developed national and international education modules on topics such as opioid stewardship, pain management, palliative care, opioid use disorder, and medical marijuana to multidisciplinary audiences.

    Kristy S. Deep, MD

    Kristy S. Deep, MD, MA is an associate professor of Internal Medicine and residency program director at the University of Kentucky where she co-chairs the Opioid Stewardship Committee. She completed all of her clinical training at UK including an academic medicine fellowship with a Master's degree in Educational Policy and Evaluation. She is board certified in palliative medicine and works clinically as a hospitalist. Her other interests include doctor-patient communication and pain management. As a native of Breathitt county, her work in opioid stewardship stems from personal knowledge of the harms of widespread opioid use.