Patient Education| September 2019
September is National Recovery Month
Every September the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Administration (SAMHSA) observes National Recovery Month to bring awareness to mental health issues and addictions.National Recovery Month also brings awareness to those who have overcome their addictions and are maintaining a sober lifestyle. The theme for 2019 is " Join the Voices for Recovery: Together We are Stronger ".
September 17-September 23 is Opioid and Heroin Epidemic Awareness Week
Opioids include a large group of drugs that ease pain. Doctors may order opioids for people who are in serious pain. When doctors’ instructions are followed and people take the right amount of medicine for a short time period, opioids can help relieve pain. But these medicines can be dangerous if misused. Heroin is another type of opioid – an illegal drug that people use to get high. Both opioid medicine and heroin can cause addiction, overdose and death. 

Every day in the U.S. more than 130 people die after overdosing on opioids. In 2017 there were 3,224 opioid overdose deaths in New York State.  Misuse of and addiction to opioids (heroin, prescription pain relievers, and fentanyl) has become a major public health problem. The Center of Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reports that abuse of prescription opioids has cost the U.S. $78.5 billion a year.

Here's what we know:
  • Opioids travel through the bloodstream and attach to parts of brain cells. The cells then release a signal that blocks feelings of pain and increases feelings of pleasure.
  • Between 21% and 29% of patients who are given opioids for chronic pain.
  • Between 8% and 12% of these patients develop an opioid use disorder.
  • About 5% of patient who misuse prescription opioids move on to heroin.
  • About 80% heroin users started with misusing the prescription opioids.
  • The amount of opioid overdoses has increased by 30% from July 2016 through September 2017 in 52 areas in 45 states.
  • During this period, opioid overdoses in large cities increased by 54% in 16 states.
Sources: National Institute on Drug Abuse
Alternatives to opioid for chronic pain management
Opioids are used to manage chronic pain for millions of Americans, including those with End-Stage Renal Disease (ESRD) or Chronic Kidney Disease (CKD) . There are many chronic pain treatments that do not involve using a prescription opiate. These include over-the-counter drugs like ibuprofen, acetaminophen, aspirin and steroids.

The following activities have also been found to be helpful in managing chronic pain:
Physical Therapy:
Physical therapists create exercises that help improve a person's movement and reduce their pain
Acupuncture involves the placement of thin needles through the skin at specific points to break up pain signals throughout the body
Injections-Nerve Block
If a patient is suffering from muscle spasms or chronic nerve pain, doctors can provide a local anesthetic or another medication to numb the pain.
Sources: Mayo Clinic, National Institute on Drug Abuse, American Society of Anesthesiologists
If you need to file a grievance, Contact:
IPRO End-Stage Renal Disease Network of New York
1979 Marcus Avenue, Lake Success, NY 11042
Toll-Free Patient Line: (800) 238-3773