How Industries Are Adjusting to the Opioid Crisis
Each week new research is published journaling the opioid crisis. The information being gathered needs to be shared. More and more professions are learning and mandating substance abuse trainings as components of their yearly curriculums due to increased awareness. It is obvious that hospital workers need to be informed on the signs of abuse and addiction. However, many surprising occupations are being negatively affected by the opioid crisis.
Veterinarians have very little addiction training. Vets are taught to analyze and treat animals. Never do they prescribe to humans. That does not mean pet owners do not abuse their animals or manipulate veterinarians to obtain mind-altering substances. Since there was never any intention of humans being impacted by the prescriptions made for pets, there is no official monitoring system for veterinarians.
Physicians have a database of all medications they prescribe and information on all subscriptions patients have had filled. There have been numerous reports of pet owners “vet shopping” going from vet to vet to obtain prescriptions for their pets. Gruesome stories of owners abusing their pets to obtain prescriptions are all too common. Vets talking to one another is the only way word of a possible abuser is spread at this time. Two warning signs of possible abuse are a patient asking for a specific drug to treat their ailing pet, and new patient immediately requesting a severe diagnosis, or coming with an older patient.
In addition to the maltreatment of animals, pets are in additional danger having an addicted owner. While humans often have distance between their nose and what they are smelling, animals do not. Dogs smell with their noses directly hovering above the ground. If drugs or alcohols are left out, dogs and other pets are highly susceptible to ingesting such toxic substances. Animals cannot ask for help the same ways humans can. It is vital to keep any dangerous substances completely out of reach from animals. This includes being vigilant when taking pets for walks. You never know what someone else may have left behind.
Dentists are another unsuspecting profession on the forefront of the opioid crisis. Dentists are not trained nearly as extensively on addiction as family care physicians. A dentist’s focus is on eliminating possible pain after surgery. Dentists will often over-prescribe a patient, not out of malpractice, but rather compassion. Dentists prescribe a high number of opioids. They want patients to be equipped with sufficient medication in case severe pain arises. However, the pain often does not last more than a couple days leaving patients with excess pills.
Left over pills lying in home medicine cabinets are the number one provider of opioids for teenagers. There has been a recent push in the elder and hospice care professions to properly dispose of unused medications. Those receiving end of life care are often prescribed large amounts of extra strength medication. If these medications are not disposed of after a passing, they are left to be abused.
The final field experiencing a change in instructional methods are athletic directors. Athletic directors in high schools and universities are implementing SBIRT trainings into their pre-season meetings. The curriculum addition is seen as a form of harm reduction. Students who use mind-altering substances are at a significantly higher risk of severe injury. Opioids are commonly prescribed for those with twists, sprains, and breaks. It is important to educate athletes as early as possible on the apparent dangers of painkillers and other prescribed medications.
Seabrook is proud to be on the front line combating the nationwide opioid epidemic and helping our clients to achieve a lasting sobriety. To learn more about our multifaceted medical approach to alcohol and other drugs, including opiate detoxification, call today: 856-455-7575.