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Pharmacies can help combat opioid crisis

Posted on 04-20-17 in Addiction

While analyzing the factors responsible for the opioid epidemic in the United States, experts often accuse pharmacies of being a key player in the entire health crisis. When asked whether pharmacies play the role of fanning or curbing the proliferation of opioid use, experts blame them for pumping opioids in the market and promoting painkillers as a panacea.

However, amid all this crisis, a drugstore chain has come up with strategies to combat the opioid conundrum in the U.S. According to a report, published in the Journal of the American Pharmacists Association in March-April 2017, a pharmacy chain has expanded the access to Naloxone, a commonly used opioid receptor antagonist in the U.S. Naloxone reverses the effects of opioids like hydrocodone and oxycodone, and prevents overdose deaths.

The pharmacy chain has implemented a three-pronged strategy to address the opioid crisis, according to the report. Apart from making Naloxone more easily available, the chain has come up with various strategies that would go a long way in tackling the opioid crisis. According to the author of the report, U.S. pharmacists fill 650,000 opioid prescriptions every day, “a significant portion . . . due to inappropriate prescribing.”

Other ways of thwarting opioid pandemic

Safe disposal of unused opioids and other medications is necessary to prevent any misuse of such drugs. Therefore, installation of medicine disposal kiosks in every store would help in the proper disposal of unused medicines. Often, opioid users procure pills from family members and friends who are careless about storage and disposal of their unused medicines. The pharmacy chain, which has 8,200 stores across the U.S., has decided to install such medicine-disposal kiosks at each outlet.

Others too can take a cue from this move and move ahead in this direction. This would help the people in getting rid of unused medicine securely, thereby, keeping them away from drug users.

Spreading awareness

Another way of tackling the opioid problem is spreading awareness about the harm and ill effects of opioid overdose and the importance of Naloxone that can help protect lives. Pharmacies can employ their expert pharmacists to educate people and counsel patients and caregivers about the ill effects of opioid overdose and the usefulness of Naloxone. They can also rope in students for educating the people. In 2014, the then U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder had upheld the implementation of Naloxone treatment for opioid overdose. He had urged law enforcement agencies to equip first responders with adequate knowledge to treat overdose victims with Naloxone.

Naloxone, the savior in opioid overdose instances

Experts often draw an analogy between Naloxone and fire extinguisher, saying that like where there is fire there is a fire extinguisher, there should be naloxone where there are opioids. A jab of Naloxone is enough to deflate the high of any opioid user, which is why they love to hate it. It is safe to use because there is no threat of any abuse.

Dealing with opioid addiction

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), opioids killed more than 33,000 people in 2015, a record for any single year. Almost 50 percent overdose deaths are due to prescription opioids, says the CDC. However, these deaths are preventable. Lives can be saved with timely intervention. One should seek immediate treatment in any credible health care center to overcome opioid addiction. Sovereign Health offers comprehensive treatment for heroin addicts, in state-of-the-art centers in all major places in the country. If you or a loved one is looking for heroin addiction treatment centers, call at our 24/7 helpline number 866-698-4295 for a prompt response.

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