Oakland County to Offer Prescription Drug Training to Doctors

The Oakland County Prescription Drug Abuse Partnership will offer physicians training this fall on how to avoid over-prescribing painkillers to their patients. That was among the announcements at a news conference hosted by County Executive L. Brooks Patterson and Sheriff Michael Bouchard to update the county’s efforts to fight prescription drug abuse among pre-teens, teens and young adults.

The SCOPE of Pain Training with the Boston University School of Medicine will be held 8 a.m. – 12:30 p.m. on Saturday, Oct. 3 at Oakland Schools, 2111 Pontiac Lake Road in Waterford. For more details or to sign-up, go to www.OakGov.com/Health.

“Prescription drugs and prescription drug abuse are driving an epidemic of overdose deaths which include Oakland County,” Patterson said. “Prescription drugs account for nearly 60 percent of all deaths from drug overdose.”

Bouchard, who enables residents to properly dispose of their unused or expired medications through his Operation Medicine Cabinet initiative at 32 locations around the county, agreed.

Photo credit: www.DrugFreeHomes.org

Photo credit: www.DrugFreeHomes.org

“With the growing epidemic in our country of prescription and dangerous drug abuse, I am proud to partner with L. Brooks Patterson and his team to take proactive steps to protect our community,” he said.

SCOPE of Pain training helps physicians safely and effectively manage patients with chronic pain, when appropriate, with opioid painkillers. Opioids are a type of narcotic medication used to control pain. The training will include essential clinical content on opioid prescribing as well as state-specific information, including a policy and resource panel with representatives from state and local agencies. The training is supported by an independent educational grant from opioid pharmaceutical companies.

“The training will coincide with a county-wide campaign on how to monitor, educate, dispose, and secure personal medications,” said George Miller, director of Oakland County Health and Human Services. “In addition to the training, we are educating the public on dangers of prescription drug abuse and creating sustainable partnerships with law enforcement, courts, treatment providers, local coalitions, and medical organizations to tackle this issue.”

Dr. Tressa Gardner, an emergency room physician at McLaren Oakland Hospital in Pontiac, said the SCOPE of Pain Training will be invaluable for doctors.

“Chronic pain affects approximately 100 million in the US, making it one of the most common reasons for patients to seek medical care. Unfortunately, pain management, including the appropriate use of opioids, is not always covered well during medical training,” said Gardner.

“Trainings, like the SCOPE of Pain, increase the appropriate and safe use of opioids when managing patients with chronic pain. This training allows doctors to be guided by expert faculty specializing in pain and addiction and observe model provider-patient interactions around the safe use of opioids for chronic pain.”

Other announcements at the news conference included an awareness campaign in October which will coincide with National Medicine Abuse Awareness Month utilizing bus advertising, social media, informational pamphlets, and more. The campaign expands on one announced by Oakland County in September of 2014.

The theme is “Be aware of M.E.D.S.”, an acronym for Monitor, Educate, Dispose, and Secure: Monitor medication around the house to keep track of its proper use. Educate oneself and family members on the dangers of abusing prescription drugs and the importance of following medication instructions and dosages. Dispose of medicines safely to prevent medication abuse and environmental pollution. Secure both prescription and over-the-counter medications in a safe location such as a locked cabinet or private bathroom.

In March of 2015, the Oakland County Health Division formed the Oakland County Prescription Drug Abuse Partnership to create a coordinated strategic action plan for reducing prescription drug abuse and overdoses in Oakland County. The partnership has a strong coalition of partners who have an active interest in preventing prescription overdose deaths.

The partnership facilitated by the Health Division includes representatives from the Alliance of Coalitions for Healthy Communities, Area Agency on Aging 1B, Beaumont Health Systems, Bryan’s Hope, city of Farmington Hills, Huron Valley Sinai Hospital, Milford Counseling, Oakland County Community Mental Health Authority, Oakland County Health Division, Oakland County Sheriff’s Office, Oakland University William Beaumont School of Medicine, St. Joseph Mercy Oakland, Waterford Schools, and 51st and 52nd District courts.

About Sarah Hovis

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