America’s pain and opioid problem

Former Canadian Prime Minister Pierre Trudeau once said, “There’s no place for the state in the bedrooms of the nation.” What’s the appropriate place for the state in our nation’s pharmacies and medicine chests — particularly regarding for opioid pain medications?

Earlier this month, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) took a big step in making sure that the number of opioid drug-related deaths doesn’t continue spiraling out of control by approving a drug called Evzio. A take-home, one-time-use autoinjector, Evzio is the first drug of its kind. It releases a narcotic antagonist called naloxone to reverse the effects of an opioid overdose until emergency medical help arrives.

Fast-tracking drugs like Evzio, which will help dramatically reduce the number of opioid-overdose deaths, is just one part of a complex solution. Improved provider and patient education is crucial. Caregivers need to know how to properly prescribe based on an individual’s pain-management needs, and patients need to know how to properly follow their treatment plans. If not, addiction will continue consuming lives.

Opioids work by targeting the same receptors in the brain as heroin, resulting in feelings of euphoria. The numbers speak for themselves: People are hooked.

 
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