10TV: Feds joining with Ohio medical providers in fight against opiate abuse
According to federal prosecutors, roughly 75% of opiate addictions begin with prescription medications. Now, health systems in Ohio – including OhioHealth – are working with the Department of Justice to help combat this growing epidemic. 10TV reporter Glenn McEntyre recently looked further into this partnership.
“I think it’s certainly true that the path that got us here was paved with good intentions,” Bruce Vanderhoff, MD, OhioHealth senior vice president and chief medical officer, told 10TV. “I think that leading up to where we are today, physicians have been very appropriately concerned about pain relief. But what we’ve learned through this epidemic is that pain relief with opiates comes with a price.”
Jessica Haner-Lee knows all about that price. Following foot surgery, she became addicted to the medication that was intended to relieve her pain. Haner-Lee is the mother of four children and has a fifth on the way. She said her addiction nearly cost her everything.
“It hurts. It not something you can take back,”Haner-Lee said. “So I just have to learn to live with it.”
Haner-Lee said her physician, who was not affiliated with OhioHealth, was at one point prescribing her 60-120 pills per week.
Now, OhioHealth hospitals are implementing now protocols in an effort to reduce the frequency and quantity of pain killer prescriptions.
“We have developed a whole variety of tools – tools that we really might not have had five, 10, even 15 years ago – but that today we can use to moderate a patient’s pain and avoid the need like narcotics,” said Vanderhoff.
Ben Glassman, US Attorney, Southern Ohio District, is working with health systems throughout Ohio to learn how they are working to battle the opiate problem.
“We all agree in law enforcement that we can’t simply arrest our way out of the problem,” said Glassman. “So the Department of Justice thinks we have to have prevention, enforcement and treatment.”
Haner-Lee has now been sober for over three years with the help of OhioHealth’s perinatal treatment and recovery program with Krisanna Deppen, MD, OhioHealth family medicine and addiction medicine physician.