What Does Prescription Opioid Overdose Look Like?
Dr Sanjay Gupta Describes it Like This
| An opiate abuser is characteristically “nodding out” and often scratching their itchy skin. While their face is becoming pale and clammy, their fingernails and lips are starting to turn blue or even a sickly purplish-black. When the choking noises — or the deep snore gurgling sounds, known as the death rattle — begins, it’s time to act — and fast. That is a pretty clear sign the opiates have just turned off the person’s drive to breathe and they are in the throes of an overdose.
It is an awful sight, and yet someone in this country dies like this every 19 minutes. There is no other medication routinely used for a nonfatal condition that kills patients so frequently. The majority of those deaths result from prescription opioid medications; such as hydrocodone, OxyContin and Percocet.
What can be done about prescription opioid addiction?
How can the growing number of needless opioid overdose deaths be reigned in? From the Department of Health and Human Services, HHS.gov, Health Professionals Resources, Opioids.
Prescribing guidelines for opioids need to be improved,opioid addiction treatment options must be expanded, and access to illegal opioids must be reduced.
- Improve opioid prescribing to reduce exposure to opioids, prevent abuse, and stop addiction.
- Expand access to evidence-based substance abuse treatment, such as Medication-Assisted Treatment, for people already struggling with opioid addiction.
- Expand access and use of naloxone – a safe antidote to reverse opioid overdose.
- Promote the use of state prescription drug monitoring programs, which give health care providers information to improve patient safety and prevent abuse.
- Implement and strengthen state strategies that help prevent high-risk prescribing and prevent opioid overdose.
- Improve detection of the trends of illegal opioid use by working with state and local public health agencies, medical examiners and coroners, and law enforcement.
See Arrowhead Lodge Recovery Article: Prescription Painkiller Addiction Epidemic Linked to Trends in Pain Management
Congress Likely to Pass a Multitude of Bills Addressing the Opioid Epidemic
On May 13, 2016, following calls from almost every sector of society (including the Obama administration), House Republicans are scheduled to vote on 18 bills this week that will address the mounting opioid addiction epidemic facing the country. These bills are expected to receive almost unanimous bipartisan support. (Three already passed this Tuesday with just one dissenting vote.)
The proposed bills will address several crucial facets of this national problem. Some of these will include:
- Measures that will make it easier for doctors to treat patients addicted to opioids.
- Greater authority among law enforcement officers to obtain interdicts for drug trafficking.
- More protection for veterans and children affected by the epidemic.
- Federal government-led studies to evaluate the state’s capacity for treating opioid addiction, which will include an assessment of Good Samaritan laws often used to shield criminal or civil liability health care providers and law enforcement officials who treat opioid addicts with “overdose reversal” drugs.
- The introduction of expert advisory committees to oversee the approval of opioid products and drug labels as well as expansion of residential treatment programs for pregnant and postpartum opioid addicts.
But despite these figures, in recent years the number of opioid prescriptions has continued to rise unchecked. Thankfully this may change after this week’s vote.
Dr Sanjay Gupta Calls for Action to be Taken by all Doctors
“As policymakers begin to catch on, rules and regulations will start to change. As part of a discussion I moderated with President Obama last month, we learned the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is now recommending against doctors prescribing opioids for most chronic pain situations. When a prescription is written, it should be for the lowest effective dose and the shortest amount of time: usually just a few days.”
It is possible that once these new bills are implemented the number of overdose deaths will stop growing or even decrease. These 18 bills certainly seem to steps in the right direction and hopefully combined with growing awareness in the medical community will lead to brighter future for doctors and patients everywhere.
Read the complete article on CNN http://www.cnn.com/2016/05/11/health/sanjay-gupta-prescription-addiction-doctors-must-lead/
Read the complete article on CDC http://www.cdc.gov/drugoverdose/epidemic/index.html
Read the complete article on Alternet.org http://www.alternet.org/drugs/congress-wising-americas-opioid-crisis
This article, written by Kenneth Chance, originally appeared here on the Arrowhead Lodge site Kenneth Chance is the founder and CEO/President of Arrowhead Lodge Recovery.Share ...
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