NASHVILLE, Tennessee (WKRN) – It was a milestone in the fight against the opioid crisis in Tennessee – more than 27,000 pounds of unnecessary prescriptions disappeared from medicine cabinets across the state.
It’s more than just a drug take-back program, it gives doctors and heads of state an overview of the opioid crisis in our state.
“I think that’s the crazy part of it. Many studies have shown that addiction sometimes starts with a pill provided either by a family member or a friend, ”said Special Agent Brett Pritts of the Drug Enforcement Administration in Nashville.
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They’re made for the purpose of helping with pain relief, but when medicine and drug addiction come together it creates a potentially life-threatening combination. Special Agent Pritts said he sees the dangers lurking in medicine cabinets too often.
“Prevention starts at home, and this initiative, which we run twice a year, is helping Americans get rid of unwanted or unnecessary pharmaceuticals lying around in their medicine cabinets that could lead to addiction or misuse. “said the special agent. Pritts.
On Monday, the DEA announced a major achievement in the fight against the opioid epidemic. The Louisville division covering Kentucky, West Virginia and Tennessee brought in nearly 47,000 pounds of drugs. Tennessee grossed the most with a total of 27,320 pounds, followed by Kentucky with 14,300
pounds and West Virginia with 5,340 pounds.
“It’s a large number in the sense that we have a lot of participants, it is also disappointing that we currently have so much unused and unwanted drugs in patients,” said Dr Kevin Hamilton, medical director of TriStar Health.
For years, TriStar Health has been active in helping reduce the problem surrounding the opioid epidemic. By organizing several drug take-back days outside of the hospital, the health care system has taken a strong stand in helping other people with drug addiction.
“Out of 100 patients who take narcotics, become addicted after just one taste, and so if we can eliminate that taste from any procedural injury, any kind of management of any kind of pain, then we’re going to reduce the opioid epidemic by general. Dr. Hamilton explained.
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One of the ways the hospital is helping in the fight is to find alternatives to treating pain using drugs that do not contain opioids. Another way is for the health care system to use electronic prescriptions that are sent directly from the hospital to the pharmacy, in an effort to ensure that drugs stay in good hands.
“It’s more difficult to falsify a prescription, to change a prescription. You are less likely to lose a prescription if it is already in the pharmacy. We don’t care about the doctors handwriting, ”explained Dr. Hamilton.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported that last year more than 93,000 people died from drug overdoses in the United States, marking the highest number of drug-related deaths on record in a year. Opioid-related deaths accounted for 75% of all overdose deaths in 2020.