Preventing Opioid Abuse in Lancaster County
Did you know that September is Pain Awareness Month? There is no better time to tackle a tough topic affecting many Pennsylvanians: pain medication abuse. As a pharmacy, Wiley’s is committed to combating this issue at home in Lancaster County. In light of the recent opioid epidemic in PA, we are here to help answer any questions you may have about pain medication.
Opioids are a class of drugs that include legally prescribed oxycodone (OxyContin), hydrocodone (Vicodin), codeine, morphine, and other pain relievers. Opioids also include illegal drugs such as heroin, fentanyl, and pain medication that is not legally prescribed.
Some pharmacies have responded to the opioid crisis by putting supply limits on prescriptions for acute (not chronic) conditions. If you are concerned about opioid prescription abuse, there are a variety of ways Wiley’s can help divide prescriptions into weekly portions upon request. Wiley’s offers both Mediset pill organizers and pre-packaged daily doses. We’ll gladly do so, and we’ll gladly deliver them for free – every week!
Wiley’s encourages anyone who is prescribed pain medication to ask their doctor these questions from the Pennsylvania Medical Society:
- Is this prescription pain medicine an opioid?
- At what level of pain should I take this prescription?
- Do I have to take every pill in the prescription?
- Where can I safely dispose of remaining pills?
- What are warning signs of dependence?
What is Narcan?
You might have noticed a lot of recent news about Narcan, a medication that reverses the effects of an overdose caused by opioid-class prescription pain medications, heroin, and illicit fentanyl. Naxalone is the active ingredient in Narcan.
It might be a tough topic to talk about, but Pennsylvania has made strides to make it easier for emergency medics as well as family and friends of people who are battling opioid addiction to access Narcan thanks to Act 139 of 2014.
Act 139 grants family members and friends the ability to obtain naloxone through Pennsylvania’s “standing order” prescription, which is a prescription written for the public instead of one person. That means Narcan (or similar treatment) can be purchased from many pharmacies without a doctor’s prescription. It can be paid for out of pocket or through insurance. Many people choose to keep a supply of Narcan as part of general first aid readiness.
In the event of a drug overdose, Act 139 also protects people from being arrested or charged with parole violations or drug offenses as long as they follow these steps: Call 911, provide all necessary information, and remain with the person in overdose distress.
Do I Have to Take Opioids for Pain?
As a patient, you always have options. Today’s modern medicine provides many alternatives to opioid pain medications. Speak with your doctor about pain medication that does not contain opioids as well as over-the-counter pain relief medicine.
There are many pain management techniques that do not require medicine or a prescription. These include yoga, meditation, and therapeutic massage. Always check with your primary doctor before starting a new activity. Read our blog about other Pain Management Therapies.
If you ever suspect a drug overdose or reaction to pain medication, call 911 immediately.
For non-emergency questions, it is always best to consult with your doctor. There is also a free, confidential 24/7 hotline for those with substance abuse and mental health questions: 1-800-622-HELP (4357). In addition, your Wiley’s pharmacist is happy to answer pain medication prescription questions.
If you have pills left over from a prescription, do not keep them. This only increases the chance of children, relatives, or friends obtaining them. Lancaster County has over 20 locations where you can safely dispose of pills. Use this Drug Take-Back Location link to find the center closest to you: https://apps.ddap.pa.gov/gethelpnow/PillDrop.aspx