“The face of the nation’s opioid epidemic increasingly is gray and wrinkled. But that face often is overlooked in a crisis that frequently focuses on the young.”
And this is the singular reason the Pennsylvania Link to Aging and Disability Resources | Berks-Lancaster-Lebanon Service Area asked Special Agent Alan McGill to come to our counties for the above presentations in each county.
McGill is a Special Agent with the Pennsylvania Attorney General’s office and those who attended the presentations in Lebanon and Lancaster all agreed: THIS WAS AN EXCEPTIONALLY WELL DONE SESSION THAT IS SO IMPORTANT. (The Berks County presentation is today at the McGlinn Conference Center in Reading.)
Following the “Opioids & Dangerous Drugs” presentation, Jerry Mitchell, Pennsylvania Attorney General’s office education & outreach | scam awareness subject matter expert facilitated a dynamic brief mini-presentation about scams and fraud.
“The heroin and opioid epidemic is the number one public health and public safety challenge facing Pennsylvania. In 2016, 4,642 Pennsylvanians died from overdoses – a 37 percent increase from the year before. An average of 14 Pennsylvanians die every day from overdose, and based on available data from 2017 the death toll will only continue to rise.
“Opioids come in many different forms with many different names, including OxyContin, Percocet, Vicodin, Codeine, Hydrocodone, Morphine and Heroin
“Health effects of prolonged opioid use:
- Liver disease
- Heart disease
- Hepatitis C (through shared needles)
- HIV/AIDS (through shared needles)
- Brain damage
- Death (by overdose)
“Opioids are often stolen from someone with a legitimate prescription. Seventy percent of people that illegally use prescription drugs admit getting them from family and friends. The number one source of drugs for teenagers is home medicine cabinets.
“Opioids can also be obtained when a person is legally prescribed a drug and then abuses it, prescriptions are forged and altered, or the medications are purchased from a dealer illegally selling prescription drugs.” – SOURCE: Office of the Attorney General Website
There is so much evidence that opioid and other substances are being sought and used by older persons. “Older adults are among the groups affected by this problem because they often use prescription opioids to cope with painful chronic conditions, like arthritis, or procedures, such as surgery. Like anyone else, if older adults use prescription opioids for a long time, they risk developing an opioid use disorder. Long-term opioid therapy is defined as use of opioids on most days for more than 3 months.”
Here are more links to articles you may find interesting and useful:
- “How The Opioid Crisis Affects The Elderly”
- “Patients with chronic pain feel caught in an opioid-prescribing debate.”
- “The Physicians’ Quandary with Opioids: Pain versus Addiction”
- Another substance Special Agent McGill introduced; do you know about it? “Gabapentin, a drug for nerve pain, and a new target of misuse”
- “Signs and symptoms of prescription drug abuse”
- “Special Considerations for Opioid Use in Elderly Patients With Chronic Pain”
The above training programs and others are provided by the Pennsylvania Link to Aging and Disability Resources | Service Area 13 partner (Berks-Lancaster-Lebanon County networks).