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News & Press: Practice Management

Stepping up efforts to prevent opioid abuse

Sunday, October 15, 2017   (0 Comments)
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By the time you read through this newsletter another person will have died from a drug overdose in the USA; one every 10 minutes or 63,000 people every year. The problem knows no regional, gender, age, income or other bounds. It is an an epidemic claiming more lives than at the height of the HIV/AIDS crisis in 1995, and odds are that you, your family or your friends have been affected. In 2016 504 Coloradans died because of opioid overdoses. But strikingly, as Director of the Colorado Consortium for Prescription Drug Abuse Prevention Robert Valuck, PhD, RPh, FNAP, notes, for every one death there are 10 treatment admissions for abuse, 32 ER visits for misuse or abuse, 130 people who abuse or are dependent and 825 non-medical users. Last, but certainly not least, 70% of non-medical opioid users get their drugs from the medicine cabinet. Excess supply of prescribed opioids left in the medicine cabinet is being diverted and is helping to drive the epidemic. 

It's overly simplistic to point to one solution to this multi-faceted problem, but physicians in general and ophthalmologists specifically can take steps to help prevent and reduce this scourge.