what we do
The overutilization of opioids by clinicians and hospitals is one of the major drivers of the nation’s opioid epidemic. In addition to the long-term risks of dependence and addiction associated with opioid use and prescription, the evidence is clear that opioids are ineffective for management of many painful conditions and may, in some cases, complicate pain management.
The misconception that opioids are the gold-standard for pain management is outdated and dangerous. By utilizing multimodal analgesia with alternatives to opioids (ALTO), clinicians can treat pain more effectively while simultaneously reducing the risks associated with opioid exposure. Dr. Stader and his team have developed and implemented ALTO programs in emergency departments and hospitals across the nation. Dr. Stader and Rachael Duncan, PharmD founded the nation’s second emergency department ALTO program, published the first academic study showing the effectiveness of emergency department ALTO programs and created the nation’s first guidelines promoting ALTO as standard of emergency department care. SOC’s clinicians have been leaders in efforts to promote use of multimodal analgesia and ALTO programs for other medical specialties, crafting pain management guidelines for hospitalists, obstetrician-gynecologists, surgeons, anesthesiologists and dentists, with guidelines for other specialties currently under development. The consultants at SOC have trained more than one hundred hospitals and thousands of clinicians across the country. In addition, Dr. Stader has been instrumental in lobbying for federal law to help fund ALTO. SOC is dedicated to helping hospital systems, physician groups and health departments develop and implement effective, evidence-based programs to improve pain management and decrease opioid use.
Opioid overdose is the leading killer of Americans under the age of 50. More than 2 million people in the United States have opioid use disorder (OUD), and more than million report misusing opioids in the past year. While OUD is all-too-common, access to treatment is not. The vast majority of people with OUD do not receive evidence-based treatment, and most hospitals, emergency departments and health systems do not offer medication for addiction treatment (MAT).
MAT with methadone, buprenorphine or naltrexone dramatically improves patient care. The evidence behind MAT is robust; it has been shown to reduce mortality by 70%, decrease transmission of blood-borne pathogens (hepatitis B, hepatitis C, HIV), decrease the incidence of soft tissue infections and endocarditis, decrease criminality by 80% and dramatically improve the quality of life for people with OUD.
SOC has the experience and expertise necessary to assist hospital systems and states in developing and implementing MAT programs. In Colorado, SOC worked with the Colorado Hospital Association and the Colorado Office of Behavioral Health to create ColoradoMAT.org, a statewide plan with tools to implement MAT in hospitals statewide. Spearheading the CO’s CURE initiative, SOC is developing MAT guidelines for more than a dozen medical specialties. We have helped hospitals launch buprenorphine programs and collaborated with our partners at OpiSafe to help hospitals and MAT providers connect with one another to facilitate patient care. In addition, Dr. Stader and SOC have been leaders in integrating recovery support specialists into Colorado emergency departments, securing grant funding to integrate recovery support into emergency department practice. For health care clinicians and organizations whose aim is to develop and implement MAT initiatives, build systems of care for OUD or integrate recovery support specialists into their practice models, SOC’s consulting expertise is a valuable resource.
SOC is committed to educating clinicians, patients and families on the principles of harm reduction, including access to naloxone and overdose education. As the opioid epidemic has transitioned from prescription to illicit opioids, the importance of harm reduction strategies has grown. Better safety education for patients who inject drugs and access to syringe exchange saves lives and protects the health of these vulnerable patients until they are ready to enter treatment. Access to naloxone and overdose education is a common sense, evidence-based approach to decrease overdose deaths and is endorsed by the Surgeon General, the World Health Organization, the American Medical Association and numerous other organizations.
SOC is a leader in bringing harm reduction principles and practices to hospitals and clinicians. The consultants of SOC wrote the first medical guidelines championing harm reduction as a pillar of care to address the opioid epidemic. SOC clinicians wrote the first hospital guidelines championing take home naloxone as a new standard of care and has helped hospitals develop harm reduction initiatives and create home naloxone programs. Dr. Stader is a well-known national lecturer on harm reduction and advocates for facilitating collaboration between harm reduction agencies and hospitals. Moreover, Dr. Stader has been successful in writing and passing state laws that help hospitals implement harm reduction practices. SOC can provide guidance on incorporating harm reduction into any clinical practice setting and is prepared to assist private and public health care organizations in developing and implementing effective, sustainable naloxone distribution and harm reduction programs.
SOC recognizes the importance of creating policies and guidelines that are evidence-based, work for clinicians and health systems and improve patient care. Dr. Stader and his team at SOC have been national leaders in creating guidelines aimed at limiting opioid use and prescription, promoting use of alternatives to opioids (ALTO) and providing optimal care for patients with opioid use disorder (OUD). Dr. Stader is the editor-in-chief of COACEP’s 2017 Opioid Prescribing & Treatment Guidelines, which helped launch ALTO as a nationwide movement and led to the creation of the Colorado ALTO project, which has trained over 90% of Colorado hospitals in ALTO implementation. Dr. Esty and Dr. Stader are the editors of the nation’s first naloxone guidelines for hospitals. SOC is spearheading one of the nation’s largest and most collaborative guideline-writing projects, CO’s CURE (The Colorado Opioid Solution: Clinician’s United to Resolve the Epidemic. The CURE initiative brings together 14 medical specialties in an effort to write guidelines that coordinate the efforts of multiple specialties around the pillars of limiting opioids, ALTO, harm reduction and treatment of OUD. For states and organizations looking to craft policies and guidelines or adopt evidence-based practice in any area related to opioid use, SOC can provide experience and expertise.
Dr. Stader and Rachael Duncan, PharmD are well-known national lecturers on the topics of ALTO, opioid stewardship, harm reduction and medication for addiction treatment (MAT). In addition to their efforts on the speaking circuit, the team at SOC are enthusiastic supporters of durable, free open-access medical education (FOAM). Dr. Stader is the founder of the Emergency Medical Minute, a 501c3 nonprofit medical podcasting organization which frequently produces content for clinicians aimed at addressing the opioid epidemic. Founder and president of Triage Films, a physician-owned documentary film company, Dr. Stader produced the Emmy award-winning film 24/7/365: The Evolution of Emergency Medicine and Palliative. As a former high school science teacher, Dr. Stader believes that to have maximal impact, education must be entertaining and thought-provoking; with that guiding conviction, he’s produced dozens of podcasts, motion animation videos and training videos. The members of SOC are available to speak at events on a range of topics and to help organizations develop innovative, durable audio or visual educational materials. Please see samples of our audio & video materials on our previous work below.
Policies, Guidelines & Other Writing
CHA: 2019 Hospital Overdose Education & Naloxone Distribution Guidelines
Podcasts, Videos & Other WEbsites
News & Media Coverage
We are medical professionals striving to leave a positive impact on our community and our country
DON STADER - FOUNDER & PRESIDENT
Don Stader, MD FACEP is an emergency physician, opioid expert, film producer & innovator. Don works at Swedish Medical Center in Englewood, CO where he serves as the section chair of emergency medicine and associate ED medical director. Don holds a medical degree with honors from Baylor College of Medicine and attended emergency medicine residency at Carolinas Medical Center. He is the Past President of the Colorado chapter of the American College of Emergency Physicians (COACEP) and former President of the Emergency Medicine Resident's Association (EMRA). He is the founder and past chair of Colorado ACEP's Opioid Task Force, the Editor-in-Chief of COACEP's 2017 Opioid Prescribing & Treatment Guidelines and the leader of CO's CURE, an effort to create multidisciplinary opioid prescribing and treatment guidelines for the state of Colorado. Don is the Senior Pain Management & Opioid Policy Physician Adviser for the Colorado Hospital Association and serves on multiple national and local committees addressing the opioid epidemic in Colorado and across the nation. He is the founder and president of Stader Opioid Consulting, a company that provides opioid and ALTO related education, policy and quality improvement services to hospitals, government organizations and physician groups. He is a well known national lecturer on the opioid epidemic, emergency department pain control, opioid use disorders and harm reduction.
In addition to medicine, he works as a film producer & creative. He served as the Editor-in-Chief of ACEP's 50th Anniversary Book Bring EM' ALL: Chaos. Care. Stories from Medicine's Front Lines. He was the creative force behind the Emmy winning documentary 24|7|365 - The Evolution of Emergency Medicine. His current film Palliative has won the audience award for short documentary at the Denver Film Festival and is currently touring the film festival circuit. He is the founder and chair emeritus of the nonprofit, The Emergency Medical Minute which provides free online emergency medical education via podcasts and video. He lives with his wife Andi and their three daughters Josiphine, Audrey & Morgan in Golden, Colorado.
Elizabeth graduated from Harvard College with a concentration in philosophy, with a focus on the philosophy of language. An honors graduate of Tufts Medical School, Elizabeth left residency to raise her three children in Greenwood Village with her husband, Dylan. A life-long musician, Elizabeth serves on the board of UpBeat Colorado, an organization committed to providing kids from low-income families with high-quality music education. In her work with SOC, Elizabeth takes a particular interest in patient and clinician education, multimodal analgesia, and adolescent behavioral health. In her free time, Elizabeth loves to hike, skate ski, practice yoga and read fiction.
Rachael Duncan, PharmD BCPS BCCCP is a critical care & ED pharmacist at Swedish Medical Center (SMC) in Colorado. She earned her PharmD from Ohio Northern University and completed critical care residency at Duke. She is the editor of multiple ALTO guidelines, championed the nations’ 2nd ED ALTO program at SMC and published the first peer reviewed paper on ED ALTO. She was a leading member of the Colorado ALTO project that implemented ALTO in the majority of Colorado EDs, is a national lecturer on analgesia and opioids and assisted in founding ALTO programs across the US. As a consultant, she continues to be a passionate advocate for safer analgesia and opioid stewardship. She lives in Salida, Colorado with her husband and son, “the Charlies.”
Ryan Tsipis - Project Manager
Ryan graduated from Virginia Tech in 2012 with a BS in Human Development and Psychology and played on the varsity lacrosse team. She completed a postgraduate Project Management Certificate at Georgetown University in 2016. Ryan is a May 2020 candidate for a Master of Public Health degree at the Colorado School of Public Health with a focus in Community and Behavioral Health. Along with graduate school, Ryan works part-time as a Data Assistant at Water For People, an international water and sanitation non-profit organization. Outside of work and school, Ryan enjoys being an indoor cycle instructor at the Denver Athletic Club and being outdoors with her husband, Nick, and dog, Gladstone.
Nathan Novotny - Project Manager
Nate graduated from the University of Colorado Denver where he earned a BS in Biology and a BA in English with an emphasis on Film. He will be attending Tulane University School of Medicine as a member of the class of 2024 where he plans to also pursue a MPH in Global Community Health and Behavioral Sciences. In addition to his work with SOC, he is also the Executive Director of Emergency Medical Minute, a non-profit, medical education organization based in Denver. In his free time, he competes in powerlifting and enjoys film, literature and discovering new music. Nate currently lives with his long-time girlfriend, Katy, and their dog, Scout.