AANP 2018 Conference Spotlight: Opioid Overdose Prevention Training for Nurse Practitioners

The American Association of Nurse Practitioners (AANP) 2018 national conference will soon be upon us. There is much to look forward to at this year’s conference, with several exciting and relevant topics to be presented.

On Tuesday, June 26, a session titled “The ASAM Treatment of Opioid Use Disorder Part 1 and Part 2” (an eight-hour course) will be presented. The course will cover “all medications and treatments for opioid use disorder. The course will include interactive, case-based learning to teach evidence-based practices and will be presented by expert NPs and an addiction medicine physician.”

Opioid Addiction in America

In the United States, 115 people die each day due to opioid addiction. In 2015, 2 million people had a prescription opioid use disorder and 591,000 suffered from a heroin use disorder. The burden of the opioid epidemic has not only cost lives, but also much in the way of financial resources with “prescription drug misuse alone cost the nation $78.5 billion in healthcare, law enforcement and lost productivity.” Moreover, it is expected that by 2020, 1 million American lives could be claimed by opioid addiction.

The Risk Factors for Opioid Overdose

One of the main concerns regarding the opioid epidemic is overdoses. Healthcare professionals must know why and how overdoses occur to find ways to combat this potentially fatal event. Per the World Health Organization, there are several risk factors that increase the likelihood of opioid overdose. They are the following:

Medication and Treatment Options

When looking for solutions to opioid addiction and overdose, it is critical to focus on medications and treatments to combat the epidemic. Opioid addiction researchers and healthcare professionals agree that “there is a need to develop additional overdose-reversal interventions and improved formulations of naloxone to reduce mortality.” While “naloxone is very effective at reversing overdoses”… “bystanders may not reach the person in time and the usual doses given may not be powerful or long-lasting enough to reverse overdoses on fentanyl and other highly potent synthetic opioids.” Thus, new drugs must be created and made available.

Furthermore, in “addition to new or differently formulated antagonists of the mu-opioid receptor, other targets such as the 5HT1A receptor (a serotonin receptor) may hold promise as alternative ways of reversing respiratory depression caused by opioid overdose.” This drug alternative is vital to prevent death when patients overdose since respiratory depression is one of the main reasons that overdoses turn fatal.

Finally, there must be better strategies to effectively engage people who have previously overdosed to prevent future overdoses.

Charting a Course Ahead

The opioid epidemic in the United States is a growing issue that continues to get worse with each passing year. To combat that opioid crisis there needs to be a greater focus on creating new medications and improving access to supportive care for addiction. Also, medical providers and healthcare institutions need to revise prescribing policies and protocols to lessen the use of opioid painkillers in the management of chronic pain.

Does your organization require medical professionals? If so, reach out to the recruiting experts at National Recruiters. At National Recruiters, we are proven industry leaders in healthcare staffing. We recruit top industry medical professionals who deliver results. Please visit us at the AANP conference at our booth #436 to discuss how we can help enhance your organization.

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