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November 2021

End of Year Spike in Heroin, Fentanyl, Pain Killers – in Everyone’s Backyard

What can you do about the it?

The BASE Solution

 

Stores are stocking their shelves for the holiday rush, and people are greasing the axles for the holiday spend.  Gearing up for the end of the year festivities is a customary part of American culture.  In line with the mad dash is the growing healthcare bottleneck of end-of-year medical procedures. 

The American healthcare system is one in which most plans have a deductible, the out of pocket spend that a person or family must meet before care is covered by the insurance plan.  Most people do not reach this deductible until the later months in the year.  Once this happens, it’s a mad dash to book procedures that can now be covered.

An area of receiving far too little attention, is that of the opioid spike at the end of the year.  In the United States, more than 142 million opioid prescriptions are written each year.  That’s 43.3 prescriptions per 100 persons.  Prescription opioids are powerful pain-reducing medications that include oxycodone, hydrocodone, and morphine, among others, and have both benefits as well as potentially serious risks. However, too many Americans have been impacted by the serious harm associated with these medications, and despite ongoing efforts, the scope of the opioid crisis continues to grow.

Because opioids are so addictive, the propensity for misuse is extremely high.  People can become addicted even when following prescriber protocols.  When this happens, the process is painful and can be life-altering.  Not only does it happen to adults, but it’s happening in staggering numbers with our youth. Prescription medication overdoses among 12-24 year olds account for 1/4th of all drug-related ED visits.  As a result of the mad dash for insurance coverage, many of the prescriptions are being written at the end of the year.

How can educators help?

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