AMITA ADVENTIST HEALTH CARE AT HOME: AMITA Health Experts Share Insights About Opioid Epidemic During Roundtable Talk Held By Congressman Krishnamoorthi
AMITA Health Adventist Medical Center La Grange issued the following announcement on Aug. 2.
Two AMITA Health experts were among a group of physicians, leaders, public health officials, addiction specialists, educators and law enforcement officials invited by U.S. Rep. Raja Krishnamoorthi, D-Ill., to share their insights during a roundtable discussion about the nation’s opioid epidemic.
Clay Ciha, president and chief executive officer at AMITA Health Alexian Brothers Behavioral Health Hospital Hoffman Estates, and Ankur Dave, M.D., medical director, pain management, at the AMITA Health Neurosciences Institute, joined 10 other panelists and Krishnamoorthi for the discussion July 30 at the DuPage County Health Department in Wheaton, Illinois.
Pete McMurray of WGN Radio hosted the discussion, which covered several topics, including opioid abuse as a public health issue, prescription drug abuse versus heroin/fentanyl abuse, vulnerable populations, opioid addiction prevention strategies, resources needed to combat the opioid epidemic, and actions taken by Congress to address the epidemic.
“I was honored to share my observations about the devastating impact of opioids on chronic pain, and to educate others on the very effective non-opioid treatments that are available,” Dave said after the event.
AMITA Health is committed to reducing patients’ exposure to opioids and to providing alternative methods for managing chronic pain, Dave said. The Lisle-based health system has taken steps to tighten the use of opioid painkillers in its emergency rooms and to communicate its pain management policies to ER patients. Meanwhile, the AMITA Health Neurosciences Institute’s Comprehensive Pain Management Program offers PRO-CAMP, an innovative six-week outpatient rehabilitation group program for patients with chronic pain. PRO-CAMP allows patients to work closely with pain management experts to learn tools for managing and reducing chronic pain. The program also addresses the physical, psychological and lifestyle changes caused by chronic pain.
AMITA Health Behavioral Health Hospital provides psychiatric, psychological and support services that help opioid addicts withdraw safely from opioid use over time. Many have become addicted because of long-term opioid therapy for chronic pain, which can make a person physically and emotionally dependent on opioid medications.
“It's wrong to say that these are people who need to pull themselves up by their bootstraps,” Ciha said after the roundtable discussion. “This is a disease like any other disease, and if we treat it as such, I think you're going to see a lot more acceptance of people wanting to get treatment, as well as better social support from families. We often start with family members who are ready for change even if the person struggling with the addiction has not reached that point yet,” Ciha explained. “We can also remove a lot of negativity from the conversation. People get better. Their lives get better. Their relationships grow and mature and exceed their wildest expectations. The good news here is that people do recover and people do get better -- and we have the tools to make that happen.”
Ciha and Dave said they are encouraged by congressional efforts to address the opioid epidemic, including the Post-Surgical Injections as an Opioid Alternative Act. Co-sponsored by Krishnamoorthi, the bill aims to decrease the demand for highly addictive opioid medications by expanding access to non-opioid pain management treatments administered directly by physicians.
The U.S. House of Representatives in June approved the legislation as part of the SUPPORT (Substance Use-Disorder Prevention that Promotes Opioid Recovery and Treatment) for Patients and Communities Act, a bipartisan package of opioid prevention, recovery and treatment bills. The House sent the package to the Senate, which has not acted on it yet.
Krishnamoorthi, who represents Illinois’ 8th Congressional District in west suburban Chicago, said congressional action alone is not enough to combat the opioid epidemic successfully. “This is a public health crisis that has ravaged communities across the country,” he said. “But through increased education, communication, coordination and treatment, we can prevent addiction before it starts as we strengthen treatment programs for those already afflicted with the disease. While federal anti-opioid initiatives can provide essential support for local efforts, the opioid epidemic will only ultimately be ended by those on the front lines.”
Source: AMITA Health Adventist Medical Center La Grange