what we do
- The overutilization of opioids by clinicians and health systems 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- The misconception that opioids are the gold-standard for pain management is outdated and refuted by significant medical research. Multimodal analgesia with nonpharmacologic, nonopioid and opioid options is the gold standard for pain control in 2022 and beyond. Clinicians can use advanced pain management to treat pain more effectively while simultaneously reducing the risks associated with opioid exposure.
- SOC spearheads the Compass Opioid Stewardship Certificate Program, a national program that advances opioid stewardship and multimodal pain control for primary care providers.
- Dr. Stader and his team have developed and implemented alternatives to opioids (ie 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. They then went on to expand the success of ALTO into the majority of Colorado emergency departments through the Colorado ALTO Project and helped develop and implement the Hospital Medicine ALTO Project as well.
- SOC’s clinicians have been leaders in the effort to promote use of multimodal analgesia for other medical specialties, crafting advanced pain management guidelines through the CO’s CURE Initiative for hospitalists, obstetrician-gynecologists, occupational and environmentalists, surgeons and anesthesiologists, dentists, and pharmacists.
- The consultants at SOC have trained more than one hundred hospitals and thousands of clinicians across the country in advanced pain management.
- In addition, Dr. Stader has been instrumental in lobbying for federal law to help fund ALTO through the ALTO Act of 2018.
- 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.
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.
Policies, Guidelines & Other Writing
CHA: 2019 Hospital Overdose Education & Naloxone Distribution Guidelines
News & Media Coverage
We are medical professionals striving to leave a positive impact on our community and our country
Don Stader, MD FACEP
Don Stader, MD FACEP is a board certified emergency and addiction medicine physician, opioid expert, film producer & social entrepreneur. Don works at Swedish Medical Center in Englewood, CO where he served as section chair of emergency medicine and associate ED medical director prior to focusing on medical consulting. Don holds a medical degree with honors from Baylor College of Medicine and attended emergency medicine residency at Carolinas Medical Center. He is the Medical Director of the Compass Opioid Stewardship Program, a nationwide initiative to improve pain control, prescribing habits, addiction treatment and opioid stewardship for primary care clinicians. Don is also the founder and chair of the Colorado Naloxone Project one of the most ambitious national efforts to engage hospitals and clinicians in opioid overdose risk recognition, education and naloxone dispensing. As of March 2022, the project has engaged over 107 hospitals and distributed over 10,000 doses of naloxone.
Don is a recognized physician leader as is the Past President of the Colorado chapter of the American College of Emergency Physicians (COACEP) and former President of the Emergency Medicine Residents’ 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 CO's CURE’s guidelines on pain control and opioid stewardship. Don served for over 2 years as 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 current chair of ACEP’s Pain & Addiction Management Section.
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 stewardship, treatment of chronic and acute pain, opioid use disorders, medication for addiction treatment and harm reduction.
In addition to medicine, he works as a film producer & creative. He was the creative force behind the Emmy winning documentary 24|7|365 - The Evolution of Emergency Medicine. His 2nd film Palliative has won the audience award for short documentary at the Denver Film Festival and was recut in partnership with the NYTimes into Dying in your Mother’s arms, a film that garnered multiple awards and a national Emmy nomination. 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 is the founder and chair emeritus of the nonprofit, The Emergency Medical Minute which provides free online emergency medical education via podcasts and video. Don enjoys bringing his talents in film production, writing and podcast production into his work as an educator and consultant.
He lives with his wife Andi and their three daughters Josiphine, Audrey & Morgan in Denver, Colorado.
Ryan grew up in Salem, Virginia, graduating 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 graduated from the Colorado School of Public Health with her Master of Public Health degree with a focus in Community and Behavioral Health in May 2020. While in graduate school, Ryan worked with Stader Opioid Consultants (SOC) part time and then came on full time after graduation. Her passion to end the opioid epidemic started in college after growing up in an area that was hit hard by the opioid crisis. This passion grew in graduate school and she was happy to find a great opportunity to work to end the opioid epidemic with SOC. Her main focus while working with SOC has been the project manager for the Colorado Naloxone Project (CNP). The CNP now has over 100 hospitals in Colorado dispensing naloxone to patients at risk of an opioid overdose and is looking to expand outside of Colorado. Additionally, Ryan enjoys being an indoor cycle instructor at the Denver Athletic Club and helping with the Junior Varsity women’s lacrosse team at Colorado Academy. In her free time, Ryan likes to enjoy Colorado with her wonderful husband, Nick, son, Theodore, and dog, Gladstone.
Rachael Duncan, PharmD BCPS BCCCP is a critical care and ED pharmacist at Swedish Medical Center in Englewood Colorado. She also manages the 340B Drug Program at Heart of the Rockies Regional Medical Center in Salida Colorado. She earned her PharmD from Ohio Northern University in 2011 and completed a critical care residency at Duke University Hospital in 2013. She is the author and editor of multiple state- and nation-wide opioid stewardship and ALTO guidelines, championed the nations’ 2nd ED ALTO program, and published the first peer-reviewed paper on ALTOs in the ED. She has been instrumental in implementing numerous hospital-based ALTO programs throughout Colorado and the nation. Rachael is also involved with the Colorado Naloxone Project, including recruitment of over 100 Colorado hospitals in the first year of the project, assisting in implementation of take-home naloxone programs. In her other consulting work with Stader Opioid Consultants, she works on the CMS-funded Compass Opioid Stewardship Project where she creates educational content and provides coaching and chart review for primary care providers across the nation that manage a large caseload of patients on chronic opioid therapy and/or with OUD. As a pharmacist consultant, she continues to be a passionate advocate for safer analgesia and opioid stewardship. Rachael lives in Salida, Colorado with her husband and two young sons where they enjoy biking, rafting, and skiing.
Charleen Melton, PharmD BCCCP is an emergency medicine and critical care clinical pharmacist based out of the Charlotte, North Carolina area. She earned a BS in Biology from North Carolina State University in 2011, her PharmD from Wingate University and then completed residency specializing in emergency medicine. After graduation from residency, she moved to Denver, Colorado where she worked at Swedish Medical Center as an emergency medicine pharmacist and also began working at Stader Opioid Consultants. She has been instrumental in implementing ALTO, opioid stewardship practices and harm reduction strategies into health care systems state-wide. Her other consultant contributions include her role as section editor in the 2020 Opioid Prescribing and Treatment Guidelines and creating educational content for the Compass Opioid Stewardship Program. Charleen moved back to North Carolina in 2021 where she currently works as a clinical pharmacist at Caromont Regional Medical Center. In her free time, she enjoys exploring new restaurants and spending time outdoors with her husband, Chris, and dog, Bentley.
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 is currently a 2nd year medical student at Tulane University School of Medicine and is also pursuing a MPH in Global Community Health and Behavioral Sciences. Nate is passionate about harm reduction, treatment of addiction and care of the underserved. He is a leader within Tulane’s Street Health Response Program. In addition to his work with SOC, he is the previous 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.