Vim & Vigor - Winter 2020 - UVA - 26

26

What is being done to
quell the drug epidemic?
Mangiacarne: Stopping the crisis

Are these
strategies working?

Mangiacarne: Yes. Every year for

the last 15 years, the rate of opioid
deaths has gone up and up and up.
And we just recently had a slight

A Guide
to Opioid
Addiction
Treatment

Do you have a loved
one with opioid use
disorder? Educate
yourself on ways to
help and what to
do in the event of
an overdose. Go to
asam.org/patient
resources and click
"Opioid Addiction
Treatment: A Guide
for Patients, Families
and Friends."

OUR EXPERT

What can individuals
do to prevent
opioid addiction?

Mangiacarne: Opioids are effective
for acute pain only. If you're having a
procedure and are prescribed opioids,
take them for the shortest period of
time. The longer you're on opioids,
the harder it is to get off of them.
[Some medical organizations]
have created opioid treatment recommendations for post-operative
surgical care. They've determined
the appropriate amount of opioids
to be prescribed if you're having
surgery, whether it's a knee replacement, gallbladder removal or
appendectomy, so there aren't extra
pain pills in a patient's possession.
That reduces the chances a patient
would end up taking more or that
somebody else would have access
to them. Talk to your doctor about
guidelines at your hospital or clinic.

Should I refuse
opioid pain
relievers altogether?

Mangiacarne: That's certainly an

Darrin R. Mangiacarne,
DO, board-certified
addiction medicine
physician and
distinguished fellow
of the American Society
of Addiction Medicine

option. You shouldn't be using opioids for aches and pains or chronic
issues like arthritis. Opioids actually
make chronic pain worse over time.
But there is a place for opioids.
We have to save our opioids for
patients who really need them [who
are in severe pain] after having
a procedure. If you're really concerned about taking opioids, there
are alternatives you can use, such
as nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory
drugs [NSAIDs].

ILLUSTRATION BY MONICA HELLSTRÖM

requires healthcare providers, hospital systems, the pharmaceutical
industry, as well as federal, state
and local governments all working together.
One of the things that's recently
happened is we're putting Narcan
[naloxone], which is an opioid
antagonist and overdose antidote,
in the hands of first responders.
Police officers carry it. EMTs carry
it. Firefighters carry it. That way,
when somebody in the community
has an overdose, we can save their
life, so we can get them into the
healthcare system for addiction
medicine treatment.
Narcan is very easy to use. It's
available as an injectable or nasal
spray. Everyone who has a loved one
with opioid addiction should talk to
a doctor about a prescription.
We also have newer medications
available to treat opioid use disorder, and we are working with insurance providers to make sure they're
covered by health plans.

decrease in overdose deaths, which
shows we're headed in the right
direction. [Opioid-involved overdose deaths decreased from 47,600
in 2017 to 46,802 in 2018, according to the National Institute on
Drug Abuse.]

WINTER 2020 VIM & VIGOR

V2_VVWI2000_24-27_QA_Opioids.indd 26

10/26/20 11:42 AM

PHOTO BY GETTY IMAGES

in a prominent medical journal
that said the risk of addiction
was very low.
[In 2001, a major hospital accreditation body encouraged doctors and
hospitals to ask about patients' pain
and to try to relieve it whenever
possible. Often, that meant prescribing opioids.] And as this happened,
patients got hooked on opioids. As
we started to realize what happened,
it was almost too late.


http://www.asam.org/patientresources http://www.asam.org/patientresources

Vim & Vigor - Winter 2020 - UVA

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Vim & Vigor - Winter 2020 - UVA - Cover1
Vim & Vigor - Winter 2020 - UVA - Cover2
Vim & Vigor - Winter 2020 - UVA - Contents
Vim & Vigor - Winter 2020 - UVA - 2
Vim & Vigor - Winter 2020 - UVA - 3
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