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Addressing the Opioid Epidemic

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What are opioids, and why should we be concerned?
  • Opioids are highly addictive narcotics with serious side effects that are commonly prescribed to treat pain.
  • Opioid-related overdoses are on the rise during the COVID pandemic.
  • More than 40 states have reported increases in opioid-related mortality as well as ongoing concerns for those with a mental illness or substance use disorder.
  • 4-6% of those who misuse Rx opioids transition to heroin, and 80% of people who use heroin first misused Rx opioids. (drugabuse.gov)
  • Around 128 people in the US die each day from opioid overdose. That’s the equivalent of a full jet liner crashing every three days.
  • For more information on local statistics and resources, please visit www.justplainkillers.com
What is Roper St. Francis Healthcare doing?
  • Reducing Rx opioids to surgical and nonsurgical patients with pain. Using alternative methods (ice, positioning, nerve blocks), plus non-opioid medications, Roper St. Francis can minimize the amount of opioids or avoid using them at all for some patients while effectively managing pain.
  • Providing safe disposal kits to many surgical patients.
  • Increasing awareness of the role community members play in combating this epidemic through education around safe disposal techniques and proper use of Rx meds.
  • Hosting community events that allow participants to drop off unused or expired medications to keep them out of the water supply and out of the hands of unintended users. In 2019, Roper St. Francis Healthcare collected over 750 pounds of medications through these community events.
  • Holding teammate and community training on the use and administration of Narcan (Naloxone). For information about training dates, please email community@rsfh.com.
  • STARTING in 2021: Provide cultural competency training to all Roper St. Francis teammates to better understand the science of addiction, the importance of positive, uplifting language to lessen the stigma that keeps many people from seeking treatment.
What can you do as a community member to impact the opioid crisis?


Definitions and FAQ section

What are opioids?

If I have to use opioids, how can I avoid misuse?

How do opioids work, and why do they have a high risk of dependence?

How do I talk to my friend or family member about any concerns I have?

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