Weekend Round Up: Memorial Day Edition

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 24, 2018

Language Used in Medical Records Can Impact Patient Care

Source: Clinical Pain Advisor

AffirmHealth Key Take Away:

Stigmatizing language used in medical records to describe patients can influence medical students and residents in terms of their attitudes towards the patient and their clinical decision-making, according to a study published in the May issue of the Journal of General Internal Medicine.

Find the Full Article Here: Language Used in Medical Record Can Impact Patient Care



May 25, 2018

Sewage is Helping Cities Flush Out the Opioid Crisis

Source: Scientific America

AffirmHealth Key Take Away:

Rolf Halden, is the director of A.S.U.’s Biodesign Center for Environmental Health Engineering. For the past 15 years Halden’s Human Health Observatory has examined such sludge in more than 300 municipalities worldwide, first at Johns Hopkins University and, since 2008, at A.S.U. His network—which includes partners in China, Australia and elsewhere—is the largest collection of wastewater monitoring sites on the planet. (The second-largest is in Europe, with about 60 cities.) For the past decade his A.S.U. team has been scouring sewage for clues about communities’ health: stress hormones, dangerous chemicals, dietary choices and nicotine. But as drug overdoses have risen to epidemic proportions—more than 63,000 in 2016—a growing number of cities have started to ask him to look for evidence of opioid use, too. “I think wastewater is a promising new tool that gives us another metric to [address] this problem,” says Daniel Burgard, a professor of chemistry at the University of Puget Sound, who is not involved in the work. “I don’t think it’s going to be the silver bullet, but with this epidemic I think using all tools possible is a good idea.”

Halden’s lab gives at least six municipalities monthly data on their residents’ collective intake of heroin, oxycodone, fentanyl and other opioids.

Find the Full Article Here: Sewage Is Helping Cities Flush Out the Opioid Crisis



May 25, 2018

Unseen Face of the Opioid Epidemic: Drug Abuse Among the Elderly Grows

Source: The Washington Post

AffirmHealth Key Take Away:

While opioid abuse declined in younger groups between 2002 and 2014, even sharply among those 18 to 25 years old, the epidemic almost doubled among Americans over age 50, according to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration.

Because of information like that, the Senate Special Committee on Agingconvened a hearing Wednesday on opioid misuse by the elderly.

“Older Americans are among those unseen in this epidemic,” said Sen. Robert P. Casey Jr. (Pa.), the top Democrat on the panel. “In 2016, one in three people with a Medicare prescription drug plan received an opioid prescription. This puts baby boomers and our oldest generation at great risk.”

Unwittingly, Medicare compounds the epidemic by funding needed opioids that can be abused, but, generally, not funding the care and medicines needed to fight opioid addiction.

Find the full article here: Unseen Face of the Opioid Epidemic



May 22, 2018

Starting in June, Law Will Require Doctor’s to Educate Patients on Opioid Risks Before Prescribing

WZZM, Chanel 13

AffirmHealth Key Take Away:

Michigan Lt. Gov. Brian Calley has announced on Tuesday that health care providers will need to make changes to their process when prescribing opioids to patients.

Starting June 1, doctors will be required by law to talk to patients about the risks of taking opioids before writing the initial prescription for the drugs.

This new law will also require patients to sign a consent form after learning about the risks. The legislative package was signed by Calley in December 2017.

Before being prescribed any controlled substance, health care providers will need to provide information on:

  • The risks of addiction and overdose associated with opioids.
  • That individuals with mental illness and substance use disorders may have an increased risk of addiction to a controlled substance. (Required only for minors.)
  • That mixing opioids with benzodiazepines, alcohol, muscle relaxers or other drugs that suppress the central nervous systems can cause serious health risks, including death or disability. (Required only for minors.)
  • The short- and long-term effects of exposing a fetus to a controlled substance if the patient is pregnant or is a female of reproductive age.
  • That delivery of a controlled substance is a felony under Michigan law.
  • How to properly dispose of an expired, unused or unwanted controlled substance.

Find the Full Article Here: Michigan State Law Takes Effect June 1st


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