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.”
Opioids and older Americans | clear and present threat; FREE presentations near you about “controlling the opioid epidemic in our aging and disabled populations”
Recent “revelations” about the pharmaceutical manufacturers producuction and marketing of opioids has garnered national media attention … finally.
“It was the early 2000s, and they usually talked over old-school computer message boards. Occasionally they gathered in person, carrying posters of their children and middle-aged spouses — all dead from OxyContin overdoses.”
We now know that the warnings these people tried to send matched the incidents that the 2015 book, Dreamland: The True Tale of America’s Opiate Epidemic.
“In 1929, in the blue-collar city of Portsmouth, Ohio, a company built a swimming pool the size of a football field; named Dreamland, it became the vital center of the community. Now, addiction has devastated Portsmouth, as it has hundreds of small rural towns and suburbs across America—addiction like no other the country has ever faced. How that happened is the riveting story of Dreamland: The True Tale of America’s Opiate Epidemic.
“Acclaimed journalist Sam Quinones weaves together two riveting tales of capitalism run amok whose unintentional collision has been a catastrophic opiate epidemic.
“The unfettered prescribing of pain medications during the 1990s reached its peak in Purdue Pharma’s campaign to market OxyContin, its new, expensive—extremely addictive—miracle painkiller.”
Opioids have reached into so many families across the nation; the addictions know no barriers. Young and old; male and female; black and white … the stories of people who have, and continue, to struggle with addiction abound.
Click on the above graphic to read more about chronic pain and opioids. “The rapid growth in opioid overdoses has put a spotlight on opioid prescribing patterns, with increased pressure on clinicians to reduce opioid prescribing, especially for long-term management of chronic, noncancer pain.”
Because many older persons contend with debilitating pain and in some cases addiciton, the Pennsylvania Link to Aging and Disability Resources is collaborating with the Office of the Attorney General to hold free presentations: “Opioids & Dangerous Drugs | A FREE presentation about controlling the opioid epidemic in our aging and disabled populations” in Berks, Lancaster and Lebanon Counties in August.
Each of these presentations is open to all and FREE to attend. Click on the links below for more information and RSVP specifics.
- Lebanon County – Tuesday, August 27 – 10:00 to Noon
- Lancaster County – Wednesday, August 28 – 10:00 to Noon
- Berks County – Thursday, August 29 – 10:00 to Noon
“The data in the DEA database tracks the path of every single pain pill sold in the United States, including oxycodone, above. (John Moore/Getty Images)”
by Scott Higham Sari Horwitz Steven Rich
“America’s largest drug companies saturated the country with 76 billion oxycodone and hydrocodone pain pills from 2006 through 2012 as the nation’s deadliest drug epidemic spun out of control, according to previously undisclosed company data released as part of the largest civil action in U.S. history.
“The information comes from a database maintained by the Drug Enforcement Administration that tracks the path of every single pain pill sold in the United States — from manufacturers and distributors to pharmacies in every town and city. The data provides an unprecedented look at the surge of legal pain pills that fueled the prescription opioid epidemic, which has resulted in nearly 100,000 deaths from 2006 through 2012.
“Just six companies distributed 75 percent of the pills during this period: McKesson Corp., Walgreens, Cardinal Health, AmerisourceBergen, CVS and Walmart, according to an analysis of the database by The Washington Post. Three companies manufactured 88 percent of the opioids: SpecGx, a subsidiary of Mallinckrodt; Actavis Pharma; and Par Pharmaceutical, a subsidiary of Endo Pharmaceuticals.”
Read this Washington Post article in its entirety, click here.
by Lydia Anderson
“In the wake of the opioid epidemic that was declared a public health crisis in 2017, there has been increasing concern about what happens to the children of parents with substance abuse disorders who may be unable to care for their children.
“New Census Bureau research shows that grandparents may sometimes step in to care for these children.
“The percentage of the population age 30 and over who are raising grandchildren is higher in states that have higher opioid prescribing rates, according to a new working paper, entitled “The Opioid Prescribing Rate and Grandparents Raising Grandchildren: State and County Level Analysis.”
by Judith A. Rucki
“If you think the opioid epidemic is only affecting younger folks, think again. According to a report in Psychiatric Times, while opioid use disorders are more common in younger patients, ‘prevalence among the elderly is growing, and misuse poses unique risks in the geriatric population.’
The informational web guide Addiction Center concurs. ‘Drug and alcohol abuse among the elderly is a rapidly growing health problem in the United States.’ Adding, ‘Seventeen percent of people in the United States over 65 years old have abused prescription medications, according to the Office of Alcoholism and Substance Abuse Services.’
“The Center on Addiction states, ‘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 fifty-five to sixty-four.’
“So, what can we do to protect our loved ones and ourselves from falling victim to this epidemic? We can start by acquainting ourselves with potential triggers for addiction in our senior population.” Click here to continue reading this article at ForeverYoung.com.
Below is an extraction of a 2017 article at Medium.com describing opioid addiction in a Pennsylvania County. The article reinforces the impact of opioid addiction on “more and more senior citizens.”
“Yet, it’s not just the county’s youngest who are most vulnerable to the secondary threats of the opioid crisis.
Opioids’ oldest victims
“More and more Butler County senior citizens are being robbed of their golden years, and the sinister secondary threats of the opioid crisis are increasingly to blame.
“So said the county’s Area Agency on Aging Director Beth Herold, speaking at a county-wide opioid coalition meeting this fall.
“The opioid epidemic’s threat to Butler County’s oldest residents comes in many forms.
“Above all, their lives are at stake.
“In area where prescription opioids remain abundant, older people remain at risk of accidentally overdosing on the very medication designed to ease their pain. Indeed, overdose deaths recorded here have touched virtually every demographic, including those 60 and up, the county coroner reported.
“Other threats to seniors from the opioid crisis are much more subtle, unsuspecting, even sinister. Continue reading →