Newswise — Michael A. Kelly, M.D., chair, Department of Orthopaedic Surgery and Sports Medicine and chair, Department of  Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation at Hackensack Meridian Health Hackensack University Medical Center, was a featured presenter at the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), Diversion Control Division, 23rd National Conference on Pharmaceutical and Chemical Diversion in Dallas, Texas. This national conference was held to facilitate the exchange of information between DEA and their state and local counterparts who focus on combating the diversion of pharmaceutical controlled substances and regulated chemicals.

Dr. Kelly was invited to speak about opioid addiction from a physician standpoint in treating patients for pain. He spoke about the program at Hackensack University Medical Center which is minimizing the use of opioids in the care of patients.

“At Hackensack University Medical Center, we’ve been minimizing the use of opioids in managing pain post-operatively, particularly in our implant and total knee replacement program,” said Michael A. Kelly, M.D., chair, Department of Orthopaedic Surgery and Sports Medicine and chair, Department of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation at Hackensack University Medical Center. “We started replacing the intravenous opioids with a multimodal approach, meaning the use of two agents or more to minimize pain. In essence, instead of using just one agent that has a lot of side effects, plus the risk of addiction, we now use several non-opioid agents before surgery, during surgery and after surgery to minimize the need for opioids.”

Dr. Kelly travels the country lecturing about minimizing the use of opioids, which have caused 64,000 overdose deaths in 2016 alone, according to the National Center for Health Statistics.  According to Dr. Kelly, the number of patients who become addicted to opioids after using them post-operatively is troubling.

“It is clear that the abuse of opioids is a very severe problem physically, emotionally and financially not only in New Jersey, but across the United States,” said Ihor S. Sawczuk, M.D., president of Hackensack University Medical Center. “First time exposure can lead to long term addiction. Surgeons, along with physicians in general and dentists are part of this problem while attempting to manage pain for their patients. What Hackensack University Medical Center has done to minimize the use of opioids is most definitely a step in the right direction and I applaud our team for taking the initiative to protect our patients.”

In 2017, Dr. Kelly presented at a town hall meeting at Bergen Community College in Paramus entitled, “Knockout Opioids.”  The town hall, which featured guest speakers, and a five-person panel of experts with backgrounds in law enforcement, medicine, treatment and prevention, addressed people affected by the epidemic.  Dr. Kelly, who has been performing total knee replacements and treating sports related Orthopaedic injuries for 30 years, was instrumental in establishing the Hackensack University Medical Center Orthopaedic Institute, which offers a multidisciplinary and collaborative approach to treating all aspects of musculoskeletal disorders.

Dr. Kelly has also presented at the National Rx Drug Abuse Summit in Atlanta, GA. His talk entitled, “Opioid Addiction May Start in Acute Care Settings,” focused on orthopedists and surgeons managing pain adequately to have better outcomes for patients. Dr. Kelly explains that while opioids have become a significant part of most surgeons pain care, they’ve also contributed to the addiction epidemic.

“Doctors aren’t all bad. We are trying to combat the opioid addiction problem by minimizing the exposure to patients, either by reducing the number of prescriptions, or not giving opioids entirely to manage pain. We can certainly fight the opioid epidemic by preventing it in the first place.”

Dr. Kelly is spearheading a program for personalizing pain management, including the use of genetic testing to determine which patients are most at-risk for addiction. Hackensack University Medical Center has also formed an opioid task force to minimize the use of opioids in other specialties post-operatively.

About Hackensack Meridian Health Hackensack University Medical Center

Hackensack Meridian Health Hackensack University Medical Center, a 775-bed nonprofit teaching and research hospital located in Bergen County, NJ, is the largest provider of inpatient and outpatient services in the state. Founded in 1888 as the county’s first hospital, it is now part of one of the largest networks in the state comprised of 33,000 team members and more than 6,500 physicians. Hackensack University Medical Center was listed as the number one hospital in New Jersey in U.S. News & World Report’s 2017-18 Best Hospital rankings - maintaining its place atop the NJ rankings since the rating system was introduced. It was also named one of the top four New York Metro Area hospitals. Hackensack University Medical Center is one of only five major academic medical centers in the nation to receive Healthgrades America’s 50 Best Hospitals Award for five or more years in a row. Becker’s Hospital Review recognized Hackensack University Medical Center as one of the 100 Great Hospitals in America 2017. The medical center is one of the top 25 green hospitals in the country according to Practice Greenhealth, and received 23 Gold Seals of Approval™ by The Joint Commission – more than any other hospital in the country. It was the first hospital in New Jersey and second in the nation to become a Magnet® recognized hospital for nursing excellence; receiving its fifth consecutive designation in 2014. Hackensack University Medical Center has created an entire campus of award-winning care, including: the John Theurer Cancer Center; the Heart & Vascular Hospital; and the Sarkis and Siran Gabrellian Women’s and Children’s Pavilion, which houses the Joseph M. Sanzari Children’s Hospital and Donna A. Sanzari Women’s Hospital, which was designed with The Deirdre Imus Environmental Health Center and listed on the Green Guide’s list of Top 10 Green Hospitals in the U.S. Hackensack University Medical Center is the Hometown Hospital of the New York Giants and the New York Red Bulls and is Official Medical Services Provider to The Northern Trust PGA Golf Tournament. It remains committed to its community through fundraising and community events especially the Tackle Kids Cancer Campaign providing much needed research at the Children’s Cancer Institute housed at the Joseph M. Sanzari Children’s Hospital. To learn more, visit