Delaware County Medicine & Health Spring 2017 - 10

FEATURE

In Search of Regional
Response to the

Overdose Crisis
By: Renée Cassidy, MD
Public Health Physician, Chester County Health Department

A

32-year-old male who lives in Delaware
County and works in Chester County visits
Kensington and experiences a heroin overdose;
he is now interested in treatment, but where?
A batch of fentanyl-laced heroin causes numerous deaths
in a single weekend and officials fear that more deaths
will follow. Anyone who pays attention to news from
any source will not be surprised that Pennsylvania has
a grave problem with opioid addiction. That problem
does not respect county borders, and many in the field
took steps this month to ensure that our response to
the problem does not stop at county lines either.
Representatives from multiple counties recently
collaborated on a symposium to create a regional approach
to overdose. Within Southeast Pennsylvania, numerous
groups have already been addressing the alarming increase
in opioid abuse and overdose, including the Bucks County
Overdose Prevention and Education Collaborative, the
Chester County Overdose Prevention Task Force, the
Delaware County Heroin Task Force, the Montgomery
County Overdose Task Force, and The Mayor's Task Force
to Combat the Opioid Epidemic in Philadelphia. Yet these
groups have largely worked within their own counties, until
now. With the partnership of the Philadelphia County
Medical Society, the Chester County Medical Society, and
the Delaware County Medical Society, along with members
of these task forces and others dedicated to treating and
preventing drug abuse and overdose, events were held over
three days in March to establish regional connections.
On Thursday, March 16th, an educational presentation
on safe opioid prescribing practices was offered at the
Springfield Country Club in Springfield, Delaware County.
A repeat session was held Saturday, March 18th at the
Philadelphia County Medical Society. The SCOPE (Safe

8

DELAWARE COUNTY MEDICINE & HEALTH

spring 2017

and Competent Opioid Prescribing Education) of Pain
course originated at Boston University and has been offered
through in-person and online sessions designed to improve
opioid prescribing for chronic pain. Targeted to physicians,
nurse practitioners, nurses, physician assistants, pharmacists,
and social workers, the SCOPE of Pain course was taught
by Daniel P. Alford, MD, MPH, FACP, FASAM, of Boston
University School of Medicine, and Yngvild Olsen, MD,
MPH, from Institutes for Behavior Resources, Inc., in
Baltimore. The sessions were well-attended and informative,
and focused on safer prescribing of opioid pain medications,
addressing prescreening, risk factors for misuse and abuse,
treatment monitoring, and handling difficult situations such
as suspected diversion. These educational presentations
will be followed up by a 2-month online post-test to ensure
lasting changes in prescribing habits. Continuing education
units were awarded from several accreditation bodies so that
participants of different professions earned the appropriate
credits. Practitioners interested in taking a SCOPE of
Pain course can visit scopeofpain.org to look for a live
conference or online course which suits their schedule.
Between these two valuable presentations, a symposium
was held Friday, March 17th at the Philadelphia County
Medical Society. Organizers invited representatives from each
of the southeastern Pennsylvania counties as well as some
regional- and state-affiliated groups to join an interactive
discussion focused on troubleshooting problems we are
all facing in our efforts to prevent overdose. Participants
from a wide cross-section of those dealing with overdose,
including health department, drug & alcohol department,
and medical society members; policy planners; data analysts;
law enforcement and first responder representatives;
treatment facility directors; behavioral health specialists;
and more. An overview of each county's efforts was
offered during a morning session. Many of the efforts, like


http://www.scopeofpain.org

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Delaware County Medicine & Health Spring 2017

Delaware County Medicine & Health Spring 2017 - 1
Delaware County Medicine & Health Spring 2017 - 2
Delaware County Medicine & Health Spring 2017 - 3
Delaware County Medicine & Health Spring 2017 - 4
Delaware County Medicine & Health Spring 2017 - 5
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http://www.nxtbook.com/hoffmann/delcomed/DelawareMedicalSocietyFall2019
http://www.nxtbook.com/hoffmann/delcomed/LivingwithLossfromAddiction
http://www.nxtbook.com/hoffmann/delcomed/DelcoMedicalSocietySummer2019
http://www.nxtbook.com/hoffmann/delcomed/DelawareCountyMedicalSocietySpring2019
http://www.nxtbook.com/hoffmann/delcomed/DelawareCountyMedicalSocietyWinter2019
http://www.nxtbook.com/hoffmann/delcomed/DelawareCountyMedicalSocietyFall2018
http://www.nxtbook.com/hoffmann/delcomed/DelawareCountyMedicalSocietySummer2018
http://www.nxtbook.com/hoffmann/delcomed/DelcoMedicalSocietySpring2018
http://www.nxtbook.com/hoffmann/delcomed/DelcoMedicalSociety
http://www.nxtbook.com/hoffmann/delcomed/DelawareCountyMedicalSocietyWinter2017
http://www.nxtbook.com/hoffmann/delcomed/DelawareCountyMedicalSocietyFall2017
http://www.nxtbook.com/hoffmann/delcomed/DelawareCountyMedicalSocietySpring2017A
http://www.nxtbook.com/hoffmann/delcomed/DelawareCountyMedicalSociety
http://www.nxtbookMEDIA.com