Category Archives: Prescriptions

“Dying At Home In An Opioid Crisis: Hospices Grapple With Stolen Meds” – California Healthline

handpillbottle

“Nothing seemed to help the patient — and hospice staff didn’t know why.

“They sent home more painkillers for weeks. But the elderly woman, who had severe dementia and incurable breast cancer, kept calling out in pain.

“The answer came when the woman’s daughter, who was taking care of her at home, showed up in the emergency room with a life-threatening overdose of morphine and oxycodone. It turned out she was high on her mother’s medications, stolen from the hospice-issued stash.

“Dr. Leslie Blackhall handled that case and two others at the University of Virginia’s palliative care clinic, and uncovered a wider problem: As more people die at home on hospice, some of the powerful, addictive drugs they are prescribed are ending up in the wrong hands.”

Continue reading this article in its entirety at California Healthline.

“In one night, she lost two sons to opioids.” – STAT News

A Mom “is on a mission to spare others that unfathomable pain.”

opioid loss familyJustin, Nick, Matthew, and Jack Savage (from left) with their parents, Becky and Mike Savage, in Siesta Key, Fla., where the family regularly vacationed.

by Megan Thielking

“RANGER, Ind. — Becky Savage always starts her talks to students and parents the same way. She shows them pictures of her teenage sons, Nick and Jack, who loved hockey, Taco Bell, and late-night hangouts.

“Then, she tells them what happened on June 14, 2015.

“Savage was picking up dirty clothes from 18-year-old Jack’s room that Sunday morning. He was sleeping in after a night of graduation parties with Nick and other friends. Jack didn’t respond as she picked up his laundry. She shook him, but he didn’t wake up. She knew to check his pulse — she’s a nurse. He didn’t have one. She started CPR on her son and shouted for help.

“She heard sirens wail down their street. She watched a firefighter try to resuscitate Jack. She screamed at him when she saw him give up.”

Read this story in its entirety at STAT News; click here.

Many think that the opioid crisis is not their problem; read comments following articles in local media. The commenters think that overdoses are “druggie” problems, not theirs. The truth is that addiction crosses all demographics.

heroin faces

This recent People Magazine article features the pictures of some of the people who’ve died from opioid addiction – they are the faces of family members, neighbors, friendspeople just like ones you probably know … right here in Berks County, in Lancaster County and in Lebanon County.

 

Quality Insights shares Practice Change Package | a resource for those who prescribe, dispense and monitor patients with chronic pain

opoid misuse

Quality Insights’ Special Innovation Opioid Project Team, in collaboration with the West Virginia University (WVU) Health Sciences Center School of Medicine and the WV Geriatric Education Center, has developed a Practice Change Package entitled Opioid Misuse and Diversion: The Big Picture; A Guide for Practice Change, to serve as resource to those who prescribe, dispense and monitor patients with chronic pain.

This guideline is:

  • designed to improve patient outcomes, such as pain reduction and improved function
  • based on emerging evidence, including observational studies and randomized clinical trials
  • voluntary- not a prescriptive standard
  • designed to improve communication between clinicians and patients about the risks and benefits of opioid therapy use when managing chronic pain

 

It’s not only in this state | “Many of state’s elderly residents struggle to pay their bills” – The Boston Globe

by Katie Johnson

“Judi Gorsuch has a degree in literature from Michigan State University. She worked as a flight attendant for 19 years, earning up to $40,000 a year, and spent a decade at the Boston Public Library in Copley Square, making $12 an hour before her part-time position was cut.

“Now Gorsuch, 74, lives in public housing near the Prudential Center and relies on her monthly $1,460 Social Security check and $400-a-month pension. Between rent and groceries and medical costs, Gorsuch says she’s lucky if she has any money left at the end of the month. When a new prescription for a bladder condition upped her expenses by $55 a month, she stopped filling it.

“‘I just decided to use Depends,’ she said.”

“Gorsuch, who never married and has no children, is among nearly 300,000 Massachusetts residents age 65 and above whose incomes aren’t enough to cover basic necessities, according to the 2016 Elder Economic Security Standard Index developed at the University of Massachusetts Boston.

living below the line

“New estimates from the 2016 Elder Economic Security Standard Index™ suggest that half of older adults living alone, and one out of four older adults living in two-elder households, lack the financial resources required to pay for basic needs.”

elder economic security standard

Click here to read The Boston Globe article in its entirety.

 

“Took The Wrong Medicine By Mistake? Study Finds Such Errors Are On The Rise” – NPR

ade“The rate of serious medication errors that occur outside of health care facilities doubled from 2000 to 2012, a new study finds.” – Gillian Blease/Getty Images

by Courtney Columbus

“When people take medicine at home, mistakes happen.

“Some people end up taking the wrong dose of a medication or the wrong pill. Sometimes, they don’t wait long enough before taking a second dose.

“Other times, it’s a health professional who’s at fault. A pharmacist might have dispensed a medication at the wrong concentration, for example.

“These kinds of mistakes are on the rise, according to a study published Monday in the journal Clinical Toxicology.

“The researchers looked at a small subset of the medication errors that happen in the U.S. every year. The FDA estimates that about 1.3 million people are injured by medication errors annually in the U.S.”

Click here to read this NPR article in its entirety.

“Ask these 7 questions about any new medication” – National Institute on Aging

Before starting on a new medication, be sure to ask your doctors these questions:

  • How many times a day should I take it? At what time(s)? If the bottle says take “4 times a day,” does that mean 4 times in 24 hours or 4 times during the daytime?
  • Should I take the medicine with food or not? Is there anything I should not eat or drink when taking this medicine?
  • Will this medicine cause problems if I am taking other medicines?
  • What does “as needed” mean?
  • When should I stop taking the medicine?
  • If I forget to take my medicine, what should I do?
  • What side effects can I expect? What should I do if I have a problem?

Learn more about medication safety.

And you can learn more by coming to this special FREE event on June 14!

0614 your medications

“A Day in the Life of Older Adults: Substance Use Facts” – SAMHSA

This Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) report is important to read.

older adults drug use

“Illicit drug use generally declines as individuals move through young adulthood and into middle adulthood. Although the percentage of people with substance use disorder (SUD) reflects the decline in use as people age, more than 1 million individuals aged 65 or older (“older adults”) had an SUD in 2014, including 978,000 older adults with an alcohol use disorder and 161,000 with an illicit drug use disorder.

Research suggests that substance use is an emerging public health issue among the nation’s older adults. Illicit drug use among adults aged 50 or older is projected to increase from 2.2 percent to 3.1 percent between 2001 and 2020. For example, the number of older Americans with SUD is expected to rise from 2.8 million in 2002–2006 to 5.7 million by 2020. The emergence of SUD as a public health concern among older adults reflects, in part, the relatively higher drug use rates of the baby boom generation (people born between 1946 and 1964) compared with previous generations. Thus, there is a cohort of older adults who may experience the negative consequences of substance use, including physical and mental health issues, social and family problems, involvement with the criminal justice system, and death from drug overdose. Older adults are more likely than people in other age groups to have chronic health conditions and to take prescription medication, which may further complicate adverse effects of substance use.

Click here to continue reading this Center for Behavioral Health Statistics and Quality (CBHSQ) Report.

“Prescription drug costs break through the partisan logjam” – Axios.com

by Drew Altman, Kaiser Family Foundation

“Americans are divided along party lines in terms of the presidents they like, the news networks they watch, and even where they live. They disagree sharply on the Affordable Care Act and almost everything else in health care. But there is one issue Republicans and Democrats agree on: They want to lower the costs or prescription drugs.

“We just surveyed Americans on the issue as part of our latest Kaiser Family Foundation poll. As this chart shows, Republicans are almost as likely as Democrats, and more likely than independents, to pick lowering the costs of prescription drugs as a priority for President Trump and the Congress. It’s the number two priority in health for all Americans, just behind reducing out of pocket costs in general.”

Keep reading this Axios.com article, click here.

“CDC spearheads a new effort to slash opioid abuse” – STATNews Morning Rounds

cdc opoid

“Determined to rein in the opioid epidemic, CDC director Dr. Anne Schuchat is introducing a new campaign to raise awareness about prescription drug abuse in America. The ads feature the stories of patients and families impacted by prescription drug overdoses. ‘A lot of times, [opioids] are prescribed without the patient asking or recognizing the harm,’ Schuchat tells STAT. Health officials are trying to encourage patients to talk to their doctors from the get-go when they’re prescribed opioids. ‘We want the public to be comfortable asking questions. And we don’t want it to be too late by the time that you’re hooked,’ Schuchat says. The videos will be initially be released in four states hit hard by prescription drug overdoses: West Virginia, Rhode Island, Oregon, and Ohio.

“The agency also updated its data this week on the rate of prescription drug overdose deaths in recent years. Take a look at the shift above —the darker the color, the higher the rate of prescription drug overdose deaths — and find the full data here.”

“How 30 opioid pills for surgery turn into a habit” – Futurity.org

opioids

“A small number of people—about 6 percent—who had not been taking opioids before an operation, but got them to ease post-surgery pain, are still taking painkillers three to six months later. That’s long after what is considered normal for surgical recovery.

“Smokers and those who had a history of alcohol or drug issues were about 30 percent more likely to keep filling prescriptions. People with arthritis were more than 50 percent more likely to do so.

“A new study suggests that certain factors make these “opioid-naïve” surgery patients more likely …  ”

Click here to continue reading this article at Futurity.org.