Solutions to opioid crisis already out there and working, says healthcare professional

The drug epidemic is a major issue that is talked about daily in the Mountain State. As state leaders work to find solutions, some are already working, according to a healthcare professional.
Nashville based firm axialHealthcare focuses on pain management solutions to provide safe and effective care for patients in pain and to curb the misuse of opioids.
“We have to address the underlying pain issues, teach physicians how to conservatively use evidence. Treat back pain, hip pain, thunderclap headaches and not just reflexively write pain medication,” said John Donahue, chairman & CEO of axialHealthCare.
A method introduced last month by U.S. Senator Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) was the drug deactivation pouches. Those are to ensure proper disposal of unused or outdated prescription medications.
“This is one very effective method,” Donahue said. “Opioids have been described for years and years and folks find themselves with just a medicine chest full of these old refills and they don’t know what to do with them. It can fall into the hands of somebody who could use them in an inappropriate way and become ill.”
Donahue works across the nation with health insurers and physicians. He said opioid misuse has decreased in other states and that real change is being made.
“It’s not dissimilar to other national healthcare crisis that we face as a nation. You can go back to the polio epidemic. You can go back to more recent times with the HIV/AIDS epidemic and it starts with awareness,” he said.
The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services reports that 1 out of 3 Americans will have an episode of pain in one year.
Officials with axialHealthCare, in partnership with the Highmark Foundation, participated in a forum last week in Charleston. Donahue said events like that can help keep the conversation going.
“I believe it’s going to take a lot of work and a lot of focus,” he said. “It’s going to be a generational issue for us to turn this around.”

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