Fighting For A Fix: Reflections Of Mothers Who Lost Children To The Opioid Epidemic

CixmJ1VXAAAY9DbThe number of drug-related deaths is rising in the United States. Each year, more people are dying from overdoses than car accidents, and more than half of overdoses involve opioids, such as heroin and prescription painkillers.

Addiction has no face; its victims may be your neighbors, your teammates, your friends. Many become addicted from a physician’s prescription; others from one poor choice. Addiction recovery programs are too few and ineffective, while stigmas and pharmaceutical profitability impede reform.

In “Fighting For A Fix,” I tell the stories of seven mothers who lost a son or daughter to this epidemic. These women are crying out for change—to the pharmaceutical industry, to treatment programs and to stigmas. Amid their sadness, hope endures.

Now available for purchase on Amazon.com.

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NEW Forbes Ebook Available This Month

Many of you may or may not know, but I’ve been working on an eBook about our country’s opioid epidemic. Available at the end of this month on Amazon, “Fighting For A Fix: Reflections of Mothers Who Lost Children To The Opioid Epidemic” retells the stories of mothers who’ve lost children to opioid-related overdoses.

Naloxone Continues Reversing Opioid Overdoses, Study Shows

Originally published on Forbes in June 2015.

As the medical community continues searching for ways to curb opioid-related deaths through treatment and management, the pharmaceutical industry proceeds with pushing for naloxone, a generic drug also known as Narcan — and the results are paying off.

A new Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report (MMWR) published by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) revealed that naloxone kits were responsible for 26,463 overdose reversals during an 18-year period.

The Harm Reduction Coalition (HRC), an organization dedicated to advocating for broader access to naloxone, an opioid antagonist used to reverse the effects of narcotic drugs, surveyed 136 organizations that provided naloxone kits to 152,283 laypersons from 1996 through June 2014.

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Should Physicians Prescribing Opioids Be Confident In Managing Chronic Pain?

Originally published on Forbes.com in June 2015.

A physician’s confidence level when writing a prescription for a patient typically isn’t questioned, but maybe it should be — especially when it comes to practitioners prescribing opioids for chronic pain.

A new report revealed that only 25% of physicians who are certified to prescribe opioids believe they are “very confident” in their skills to manage patients using these drugs. The Boston University School of Medicine (BUSM) and myCME, Haymarket Medical Education’s global medical education website, released the results of the survey.

Low confidence levels in physicians could be the result of little to no training focusing on safe opioid prescribing and management. Dr. Daniel Alford, director of BUSM’s Safe and Competent Opioid Prescribing Education (SCOPE of Pain) program, said that this topic isn’t covered much in medical school or residency training.

Visit Forbes.com to read the rest of the article.

Only 1.4% Of Physicians Are Ready To E-Prescribe Controlled Substances, Report Finds

Originally published on Forbes.com in May 2015.

As deaths involving prescription opioids increase, prescribers look toward other ways to curb patient overdoses. One fairly new solution in the medical community is to prescribe controlled substances electronically, but just how far along is this revolutionary approach, and will it help combat the ever-growing opioid epidemic in the country?

Health information network provider Surescripts on Tuesday released the results of research focusing on health data transactions in 2014. The report, titled the “2014 National Progress Report,” reviewed how prescribing controlled substances electronically could potentially diminish prescription fraud and abuse in the country.

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8 ‘Tell-Tale’ Signs Associated With Impending Death In Patients With Advanced Cancer

Originally published on Forbes in February 2015.

Being able to diagnose death within several days of it happening can assist cancer patients and their families with making end-of-life care decisions. A new study seeks to help with the process by providing physicians with a list of indications to consider when evaluating a patient for impending death.

The research, released by the American Cancer Society, revealed eight bedside physical “tell-tale” signs associated with death within three days in cancer patients: non-reactive pupils, decreased response to verbal stimuli, decreased response to visual stimuli, inability to close eyelids, drooping of the nasolabial fold, hyperextension of the neck, grunting of vocal cords and upper gastrointestinal bleed.

The study analyzed the physical changes in the final days of life in 357 cancer patients who were admitted to acute palliative care units in two cancer centers: MD Anderson Cancer Center in Houston and Barretos Cancer Hospital in Brazil. The researchers documented 52 physical signs every 12 hours from admission to death or discharge. A little more than the majority of the patients died during the study.

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