Weekend Round Up

With opioid prescribing regulations being updated, national policy announcements, state guidelines as well as daily commentary regarding the opioid epidemic flooding news outlets, the AffirmHealth Weekend Round Up looks at the top headlines that caught our team’s eye. From controlled substance protocols to research focusing on pain management, addiction medicine, the ER and more provided to you in an easy to access summary. News you can use. Welcome to the Weekend Round Up.



May 31, 2018

‘Unintended Consequences’

Inside the Fallout of America’s Crackdown on Opioids

Source: The Washington Post

AffirmHealth Key Take Away:

The Washington Post takes an in-depth and personal look at the war on opioids and the plight of pain patients. The story of Kenyon Stewart and his decline from working home owner to living in a borrowed trailer crippled by pain from a failed hip surgery. Stewart’s pain management regimen of 584 morphine milligrams per day — more than six times the CDC recommended ceiling was no longer able to be filled and his pain management physician (who will no longer be practicing) is weaning him off. This descriptive patient journey illustrates the other side of the American opioid epidemic. One physician’s struggle to treat pain patients as well as the patient’s struggle to survive chronic pain in the opioid epidemic era.

Our team all agree, this was a compelling read.

Find the Full Article Here: Unintended Consequences



May 31, 2018

New Michigan Opioid Laws Could Mean Longer Prescription Wait Times

Source: DetriotNews.com

AffirmHealth Key Take Away:

New state laws to reduce patients' risk of opioid addiction go into effect Friday as part of a package of measures passed in December to curb overdose deaths in the state.

Effective Friday, prescribers of drugs like Vicodin, morphine, oxycodone and Tylenol with codeine are required to educate patients on the risks of addiction, and patients must sign a form saying they've been informed.

Prescribers are also required to check the patient's history on the Michigan Automated Prescription Surveillance (MAPS) system, which documents every controlled substance prescription written in the state.  Checking with MAPS will tell prescribers if a patient is "doctor shopping" for drugs. 

Find the Full Article Here: New Michigan Opioid Laws Could Mean Longer Prescription Wait Times



June 2, 2018

Dr. Jennifer Schneider: Correcting Misunderstanding of Opioids   

Source: Arizona Daily Star & Tucson.com

AffirmHealth Key Take Away:

Dr. Jennifer Schneider a specialist certified in both addiction medicine and pain medicine, sets the record straight on what she believes is misinformation. She dives into several topics including:

“Dependence” is often used as a synonym for “addiction,” which makes it hard to figure out what the person is telling you. The reality is that after a couple of weeks on a moderate dose of opioid you are likely to develop physical dependence, but this doesn’t mean it’ll be “long term;” all it means is that if there’s an urgent need to stop the opioid, your doctor will have you taper the dose; it takes only a few days of a taper to prevent withdrawal symptoms.

In recent years the number of opioid overdose deaths have increased in parallel to the decreased availability of prescription drugs on the street. That’s why simply reducing physicians’ ability to prescribe opioids is not the solution. In fact it’s just the opposite. Rather, physicians need to know their chronic pain patients so they can better understand who is benefiting from opioid treatment and who is not, and when addiction or psychological problems are present, to refer them to behavioral health for appropriate treatment of those problems.

Find the full article here: Correcting Misunderstanding of Opioids 



May 31, 2018

The Five Things We Must Do Together To End the Opioid Epidemic  

Source: USAToday   

AffirmHealth Key Take Away:

Republican Bill Frist of Tennessee, a heart transplant surgeon and former Senate majority leader, is co-chair of the Bipartisan Policy Center's Future of Health Care Initiative, outlines a five part plan to combat the opioid epidemic.

For the first time in history, drug overdoses are now the leading cause of death for Americans under age 50. For the first time in nearly a quarter century, U.S. life expectancy has declined, driven by diseases of despair like alcoholism and drug addiction. And for the first time in a long time, policymakers and providers are serious about trying new approaches and making a real investment in turning the tide on addiction. The U.S. had more than 64,000 drug overdose deaths in 2016 — more people died from overdoses than those who died in motor vehicle accidents; more died than those who were killed in the 20-year Vietnam War.

Frist goes on to outline a five part plan to end the opioid epidemic.

Find the Full Article Here: The Five Things We Must Do Together To End the Opioid Epidemic: Bill Frist



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