Tag Archives: drug treatment

Preventing Opioid Addiction Goal of New Michigan Surgical Initiative

doctor prescribing opiatesMichigan, like other states, has been hit hard by America’s drug epidemic. A team from the University of Michigan (U-M) is taking action against a key factor in the problem: opioids being prescribed to patients both before and after surgery.

The Department of Health and Human Services will be providing a grant of $1.4 million in funding per year over each of the next five years ($7 million total funding), which will be matched by U-M. The team will be launching an initiative that will help doctors and hospitals across Michigan address surgical patients’ pain without putting them at high risk for becoming new chronic opioid users, misusers or addicts.

Michigan Opioid Engagement Network Will Prescribe Fewer Narcotics

The program, called the Michigan Opioid Engagement Network (Michigan OPEN), has set as its goal to reduce the number of opioids being prescribed to Michigan surgery patients by 50 percent. It also wants to lower the number of patients still using opioids several months after surgery by the same rate.

Based in the U-M Medical School and Institute for Healthcare Policy and Innovation, Michigan-OPEN will work with existing networks of hospitals, doctors and nurses across the state. The team will be working with 12 of these networks to understand and use best practices for managing pain for their patients, which includes using opioid pain medications wisely.

“Surgeons prescribe nearly 40 percent of opioid painkillers in Michigan, but have few resources to guide them on best use of the drugs by patients before and after surgery,” according to Chad Brummett, M.D., who is of Michigan-OPEN’s three leaders and the director of the Division of Pain Research in the U-M Department of Anesthesiology. “We hope that by working with surgical teams across the state, we can fill that gap for the benefit of individual patients and our state as a whole.”

According to U-M researchers, approximately 10 percent of patients who weren’t taking opioid medications before they undergo surgery become dependent on them after the procedure. This dependency can open the door to misuse and addiction to prescription and illegal drugs.

How Michigan-OPEN Will Help to Prevent Addiction

Opioid abuse in Michigan is already a widespread issue that costs the state nearly $2 billion each year. Mortality rates are increasing faster than in other states. Michigan-OPEN will move quickly to distribute evidence-based information and advice to health care teams and treatment programs statewide.

Special attention will be paid to patients currently on Medicaid insurance. Patients in this category make up 12 percent of those having surgery, but account for close to one-third of those who develop a post-surgical opioid dependence.

Michigan-OPEN will also work with patients who are already taking opioids prior to surgery. A U-M study has found that care for these patients costs nine percent more than for patients who did not use opioids before their procedure. It also resulted in more complications and readmissions than for patients of similar age, health and insurance status.

Michigan-OPEN teams will work with patients and their healthcare team to create strategies they can use to reduce the number and level of opioids being prescribed and dependence on these types of drugs. One strategy that can be implemented is for surgeons to discuss pain management expectations and concerns with the patient before surgery.

Charitable Organizations Help Fight Against Drug Abuse

fundingWhile our nation struggles with the ongoing drug and alcohol epidemic, charitable organizations are stepping up to the plate to offer assistance. For the most part, individual states fund many rehabilitation facilities, community outreach projects and the public services that monitor and prevent further drug activity. The millions of dollars that go into fighting the drug problem is enough to bankrupt any state, however with the help of organizations that sponsor addicts to go into treatment, host educational seminars and generally help the community, states are able to reach more addicts and families than ever before.

One of the largest reasons many charities have developed and gotten involved with the drug plight our communities are facing is because they see the need for further education. Oftentimes charities and organizations are developed after someone loses a loved one to an addiction. Taking the knowledge that many wished they had when the addiction first started and imparting that knowledge onto others is a driving force behind many foundations.

As the number of children in foster care grows due to parents addicted to drugs, and as more and more babies continue to be born already addicted to some sort of substance, it is clear that the need for education and prevention is greater than ever before. Charitable organizations look to helping those with addiction problems before it is too late. “To have a true, long-lasting impact on addiction, on the drug problem substance abuse in general, I’m absolutely convinced we have to be just as much about prevention, treatment and recovery as we are about enforcement,” explained Booth Goodwin, U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of West Virginia.

Goodwin recently spoke at a conference dedicated to those who have developed different non-profit organizations to help fight against drug abuse. During the conference, Goodwin acknowledged that the drug problem is getting worse, especially with the increased amount of heroin on the streets. According to him, states and communities truly need help from charities to further educate and prevent new addicts from developing the deadly disease.