More than 140 Americans die from a drug overdose every day – that’s more than from gun homicides and car crashes combined. Most of these deaths are due to prescription painkillers, heroin and other opioids. The opioid crisis in our country is severe enough that yesterday President Donald Trump signaled his intention to declare it a national emergency.
Hospitals and health systems serve on the front lines in this crisis every day. We’re using many strategies to help: implementing standard protocols for prescribing opioids; promoting state prescription drug monitoring programs; and encouraging alternative pain-management strategies, for instance. And because we can’t solve this problem alone, we’re also partnering with schools, state and local health departments, law enforcement, pharmacies, treatment and prevention programs, and other community stakeholders in this fight.
Eskenazi Health, based in Indianapolis, which operates launched Project POINT – Planned Outreach, Intervention, Naloxone and Treatment, is one example. The program provides counseling for patients with substance use disorder, connects them to local recovery resources, and sends them home with naloxone, an antidote drug that can revive and save patients dying from overdose.
Hospital workers see firsthand the pain caused by opioids. Luckily, we’re also there to aid our patients’ recovery. More health systems like Eskenazi are taking a multi-pronged approach like this to address substance use disorder. You can learn more about the innovative solutions they are offering in their communities on our website.