By Tyler Hemsley, PharmD, C-WHO’s Chief Officer of Healthcare Innovation
The scramble to understand and strategically tackle the opioid epidemic continues. It’s still difficult to know the full depth and breadth of the unintended harm that has been caused. Even as we try to gain our footing through appropriately limiting and tapering opioid prescribing, increasing availability of naloxone and educating patients and caregivers on its life-saving impact; we continue to see overdose deaths rising at an alarming rate – almost entirely due to high potency and synthetic products like fentanyl. An incredible demand has been created over the past 15-20 years, and the response to a diminishing, or more tightly regulated supply line appears to be to seek cheaper, more dangerous, illicit alternatives.
There are so many contributing factors in this atrocity, and I don’t see the benefit in finger pointing, so I won’t.
I find it more helpful to take a thoughtful look at the current state. The circumstance is neutral. We are where we are. So where to from here?
Our goal in the rEASON project is to coordinate with existing stakeholders on the care team, incorporate feedback and representation from the patient/caregiver community, and help providers navigate the difficult discussions around pain control.