Combating The Opioid Epidemic In Appalachia
North American Precis Syndicate
Community workers, individuals and businesses can all work together to address the opioid epidemic. (NAPS)
(NAPSI)—According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the
number of fatal opioid overdoses has quadrupled since 1999. A 2015 National
Survey on Drug Use and Health found that every day, more than 1,600 young
adults and about 3,100 adults aged 26 or older misuse a pain medication for
the first time.
It is not too late, however, to change this trajectory. Individuals,
government agencies, and businesses are taking steps to reduce the problem—and
you can be part of the solution.
What You Can Do
Nearly 54 percent of those who misused prescription painkillers obtained
them from a friend or relative and only about 11 percent of unused medication
is disposed of correctly. Public health experts say it's vital you manage all
prescription medications appropriately by:
• Never using another person's prescription, and never giving your prescription
medications to others.
• Storing prescription stimulants, sedatives and opioids
• Properly discarding unused or expired medications according to FDA
guidelines or at U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration collection sites.
What Others Are Doing
A pharmaceutical wholesale distributor that safely and securely delivers
medications and medical supplies of all kinds, from the hundreds of
manufacturers who make them to the thousands of licensed pharmacies that give
them to patients, Cardinal Health, launched its Opioid
Action Program, a pilot initiative that will deliver much-needed frontline
tools to help prevent opioid abuse and support
first responders in Ohio, Kentucky, Tennessee and West Virginia.
As part of this effort, the company will:
1. Purchase approximately 80,000 doses of the lifesaving,
overdose-reversing drug Narcan (naloxone
HCl) Nasal Spray 4mg, and distribute them, free,
for first responders and law enforcement officials.
2. Significantly ramp up existing support for successful drug "takeback" and education programs. This initiative
continues the work done, for several years, through the Cardinal Health
Foundation's partnership with The Ohio State University College of Pharmacy.
3. Invest $3 million to expand grants focused on youth prevention
education, prescriber opioid
awareness and reduction efforts, and community responses to the epidemic. The
grants fund community collaboratives among health
care, law enforcement, education, business, service providers, government,
funding organizations and volunteer organizations.
4. Partner with the Warren Alpert Medical
School at Brown University
to share curricula that address opioid misuse and
treatment with other medical schools. One goal is to expand the number of
physicians who get Drug Addiction Treatment Act (DATA) waivers to prescribe
treatments for opioid use disorder.
Explains Dr. Nick Hagemeier, Associate Professor
at the Gatton College of Pharmacy, East Tennessee
and Research Director of ETSU's Center for
Prescription Drug Abuse Prevention and Treatment: "Combining multiple
evidence-based approaches, and using them simultaneously, can help turn the
tide of the opioid epidemic."
This initiative is rooted in Cardinal Health's goal of preventing the
diversion of controlled substances to illegitimate use and investing in
programs that provide communities with necessary tools to fight this
epidemic. The company operates a state-of-the-art system using advanced
analytics, technology, and on-the-ground deployment of investigators to
evaluate all pharmacies, scrutinize all pharmaceutical shipments, and
identify, block and report suspicious orders of pain medications.
For further information about the Opioid Action
Program, visit www.CardinalHealth.com/OpioidActionProgram.
On the Net:North American Precis Syndicate, Inc.(NAPSI)