“In Chapter 14, author David Nutt describes the opioid crisis currently besetting the US.”
“The current US prescription-opioid crisis is one of the most remarkable examples of medicine going wrong. Last year in the USA more people died from an opioid overdose than died from road traffic accidents, and more than the total casualties in the whole of the Vietnam war. The reasons for this are complex. They reflect a perfect storm of good intentions coupled with prescriber ignorance and commercial greed, occurring in a context of growing economic problems in some parts of the country, lack of social support systems, and individual despair, sometimes manifested by pain syndromes, in people who may well have been depressed. A vicious cycle of overprescribing of strong analgesics such as hydrocodone and oxycodone then developed that began the current opioid problem which has now morphed into the massive use of illicit opioids.”
“Deaths classified as drug-related for 15- to 64-year-olds hit 9% in 2016, up from about 4% about two decades prior, but new research suggests the true number is actually more than double that.”
“Activists and family members of loved ones who died in the opioid/heroin epidemic take part in a ‘Fed Up!’ rally at Capitol Hill on September 18, 2016 in Washington, DC.”(Credit: John Moore/Getty Images)
posted by Michele Berger-Penn
“‘It’s obvious that the drug epidemic is a major American disaster,’ says Samuel Preston, a professor of sociology and member of the Population Studies Center at the University of Pennsylvania. ‘The basic records being kept are annual reports on the number of deaths from drug overdose. But that’s only part of the picture.’
“Among this group of Americans in 2016, 63,000 deaths attributed to drug-related causes—mostly poisonings—but Preston and coauthor Dana Glei from Georgetown University estimate that the overall number of drug-associated deaths is far higher: around 142,000.
In 2017, The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) reported that the state with the third highest overdose rate was Pennsylvania (44.3 per 100,000).
“The opioid overdose epidemic is the worst public health crisis in Pennsylvania, and the nation, in almost a generation. The Wolf Administration takes an all-hands-on deck approach to preventing addiction, saving lives and getting Pennsylvanians into treatment. This dashboard provides data behind Pennsylvania’s response to the crisis collected through the Governor’s Opioid Disaster Declaration.”
“Estimated Number of Drug Overdose Deaths in Pennsylvania in 2017 | Preliminary data is showing a decline in drug overdose deaths, but there is more work to do. Pennsylvania continues to focus on saving lives, expanding treatment access and getting patients into treatment.”
In 2017, the drug overdose deaths (by county) are:
- Berks – 85
- Lancaster – 108
- Lebanon – 25
A new National Council on Aging report synthesizing the results of a national survey taken earlier this yearreveals that the aging network is spending more time addressing effects of the opioid epidemic, and older adults face increased financial concerns as a result of the crisis. Read the full issue brief for more findings and recommendations to address these issues.
“Starting January 1, 2020, under the Calendar Year (CY) 2020 Physician Fee Schedule final rule, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) will pay Opioid Treatment Programs (OTPs) through bundled payments for opioid use disorder (OUD) treatment services in an episode of care provided to people with Medicare Part B (Medical Insurance). OTPs must enroll in the Medicare program in order to receive reimbursement when these services are provided to Medicare patients.” – Medicare Website
“The new Medicare benefit for Opioid Use Disorder (OUD) treatment includes counseling, as well as medication-assisted treatment (MAT) and related items and services. This benefit was established by Congress in the SUPPORT Act of 2018 and is now being implemented by the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS). Medicare beneficiaries, including those dually eligible for Medicare & Medicaid, are the fastest growing group of OUD patients. Beneficiaries may access one of two types of providers: Opioid Treatment Programs (OTPs) (e.g., methadone clinics) or physicians and other health professionals. Providers offering these services will receive a bundled payment, either weekly or monthly depending on the type of provider, that can repeat as long as a patient needs treatment. Based on early guidance, Medicare Advantage (MA) plans have already created 2020 benefit packages that provide a level of access to OTP services that is “consistent with prevailing community patterns of care.” Now that the new benefit is final, MA will need to cover both OTP and Physician OUD treatment for Now that the new benefit is final, MA will need to cover both OTP and Physician OUD treatment for 2021.
Please click here or on the image above to review the HMA Insights for additional details and key questions that HMA has identified and continues to monitor.
“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 Continue reading →
Producer/Director John Pappas
“A confidential government document containing evidence so critical it had the potential to change the course of an American tragedy was kept in the dark for more than a decade. The document, known as a ‘prosecution memo,’ details how government lawyers believed that Purdue Pharma, the maker of the powerful opioid, OxyContin, knew early on that the drug was fueling a rise in abuse and addiction. They also gathered evidence indicating that the company’s executives had misled the public and Congress.
“”The Weekly’ shines a light on that 2006 Justice Department memo and its consequences for today’s wave of lawsuits against opioid makers and members of the Sackler family, which owns Purdue Pharma.” – Click here to continue reading this article at The New York Times.
Come to a special presentation about “OPIOIDS & DANGEROUS DRUGS” | Controlling the opioid epidemic in our aging and disabled population.
“AMERICANS OVER 50 are using narcotic pain pills in surprisingly high numbers, and many are becoming addicted. While media attention has focused on younger people buying illegal opioids on the black market, dependence can also start with a legitimate prescription from a doctor: A well-meant treatment for knee surgery or chronic back troubles is often the path to a deadly outcome.”
Click here to read this AARP article about “America’s Addiction to Pain Pills.”
“A growing number of older Americans are becoming addicted to prescription opioid drugs like OxyContin and Vicodin. While drug-related deaths have increased dramatically in all age groups, the greatest percentage increase has been among adults ages 55 to 64.” – Read more here.
“More than one-tenth of adults 65 and older currently binge drink, putting them at risk for a range of health problems, a new study shows.”
posted by Rachel Harrison
“The study also finds certain factors—including using cannabis and being male—are associated with an increase in binge drinking.
“Binge drinking is risky, particularly for older adults due to aging-related physical changes—an increased risk of falling, for example—and the likelihood of having chronic health issues. Despite the potential for harm, little research has focused on binge drinking among older adults.
“‘Binge drinking, even episodically or infrequently, may negatively affect other health conditions by exacerbating disease, interacting with prescribed medications, and complicating disease management,’ says lead author Benjamin Han, an assistant professor in the division of geriatric medicine and palliative care and in the population health department at New York University.”