Area law enforcement agencies take back unwanted prescriptions Saturday

The Advocate - Eight area law enforcement agencies will be accepting unwanted prescription drugs Saturday from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. as part of the national effort of the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration to get potentially dangerous drugs out of homes.

The twice-a-year event will be held at collection sites across the country to rid homes of expired, unused and unwanted prescription medicine.

8 important questions to ask your doctor about surgical pain management

The Advocate - If you or a loved one has an upcoming surgery, pain management is probably a top concern. Depending on the type of surgery, doctors will recommend different methods to manage your pain so you can heal properly. It's important to understand what to expect, your options for controlling pain as well as any risks associated with them, particularly when it comes to opioids.

An estimated 50 million surgeries are performed each year and the majority of these patients are prescribed opioids to manage their pain, according to Dr. Roy Soto…

Fentanyl opioid patches recalled for dosing error

WWL - Two lots of a transdermal patch used for delivery of the synthetic opioid Fentanyl have been recalled because the patches inside some cartons may contain a different dosage than the carton states. It could lead to potentially life-threatening consequences.

Alvogen, Inc, is voluntarily recalling certain lots of Fentanyl Transdermal System 12 mcg/h transdermal patches. The company says a small number of cartons contained 50 mcg/h patches.

The patches themselves do say 50 mcg/h, but if a patient who purchased the 12 mcg/h carton doesn't notice this and uses the 50 mcg/h patch, it could lead to "serious, life-threatening, or fatal respiratory depression," according to the recall.

FDA gives final approval for first generic nasal spray to treat opioid overdose

WVUE - The FDA announced Friday it has approved the first generic nasal spray meant to treat opioid overdoses.

The final approval of naloxone hydrochloride nasal spray, also known as Narcan, is a medication that can stop or reverse the effects of overdoses.

In addition, the FDA is planning steps to prioritize the review of additional generic drug applications for similar products. The agency will also help facilitate an over-the-counter naloxone product.

There’s no such thing as too much information before surgery

The Advocate - There is no such thing as TMI (too much information) when it comes to communicating facts about your health with your physician anesthesiologist before surgery or a medical procedure. You might not think taking ginkgo biloba for memory, using medical marijuana for pain, smoking or snoring are relevant, but these supplements, drugs and conditions are among the eight things you should disclose for your own safety.

“Your physician anesthesiologist isn’t interested in judging you, but rather wants to provide the safest, most effective anesthesia and pain relief,” said Dr. Linda J. Mason, M.D., FASA, president of the American Society of Anesthesiologists(ASA). “Your safety is our priority and this information is essential so we can adjust your anesthesia and pain management to ensure the best outcome.”

To fanfare, DEA unveils '360 strategy' in New Orleans area to battle heroin, drug abuse and violence

The New Orleans Advocate - As they have grappled with years of rising opioid- and heroin-related death totals in the New Orleans area, authorities have imprisoned violent drug dealers, prosecuted doctors who overprescribe medications to addicts, and armed first responders with an antidote that can reverse the effects of opiate overdoses and saves lives daily.

Yet the epidemic is far from under control, so various federal and local officials gathered at New Orleans City Hall on Tuesday to unveil a strategy aimed at connecting addicts with treatment, counseling and faith-based services while educating schoolchildren and their families about avoiding substance abuse.

My mother, the addict: How this 'brilliant, beautiful' woman lost her way

The Advocate - She was brilliant, and also unassuming in a lot of ways … she’s a very kind, compassionate and loving woman, but she’s also extremely naïve. I didn’t really see it that way as a child, though. I just saw her as my beautiful, caring, funny, humble, nurturing mom. She was lovely … really.”

Karl Lawrence, 36, speaks these words with softness in his voice.

Managing post-surgical pain without opioids

The Advocate - As the opioid epidemic raged on in 2018, dialogues swirled around who to blame for the crisis and how to cut opioids from the treatment narrative. While opioids have long been considered a standard in preoperative and postoperative pain management, many patients are beginning to wonder how the reduction in opioid prescribing may impact their pain management needs during and after acute surgical procedures down the road. In an effort to address the patient concerns, many physicians are exploring more and more alternatives to traditional opioid pain management for their patients.

CAHS to host opioid treatment & alternatives meeting Friday

WVLA - Louisiana’s growing opioid epidemic is causing death and destruction in our communities but the Capital Area Human Services (CAHS) is hoping to make a difference. 

CAHS will host a regional behavioral health collaborative meeting on Friday, April 6, in an effort to combat the opioid crisis. The meeting is scheduled at the Capital Area Human Services, 4615 Government Street, in Baton Rouge, from 8:30 a.m. to 11:30 a.m., in room 200.

Topics include learning the appropriate use of opiates and alternatives in pain management, an update on the Louisiana Department of Health’s (LDH) grant for opioid treatment, and an overview of services from three centers offering various types of opioid treatment in the Baton Rouge area.

Denham Springs Police train on trauma care, opioid overdose reversal drug

The Advocate - The Denham Springs Police Department trained this week on providing trauma care and administering a drug that can temporarily reverse an opioid overdose. 

"Training and equipping our officers to immediately deal with traumatic injuries and narcotic exposures enables them to better care for themselves, each other and the public that they serve," Chief Shannon Womack wrote in a statement.

New physician at Woman's Hospital specializes in opioid use disorder

The Advocate - Dr. Tara Benjamin Simon has joined the Woman's Hospital fetal medicine team, which cares for women with high-risk pregnancies in Baton Rouge.

This specialized group of OB-GYNs are trained to care for women with high-risk pregnancies, according to a news release. Simon comes to Woman’s with national recognition in caring for women with perinatal substance use disorders.

LA support group beginning for people who’ve lost loved ones to drugs

KTAL - A new support group for people who’ve lost loved ones to drugs is starting by a woman who knows the grief all too well.

Gwen Knox lost her son, Brian, to an opioid overdose in 2015 and is the facilitator of the group. She said she experienced grief and guilt following her son’s decades long addiction.

“All of these feelings of pain and the loss of him, but there was also a relief.”

Teen comes clean on struggle with painkillers after cancer

The Advocate - Last fall, Alexis decided that she was done taking oxycodone — but stopping came with horrific withdrawal side effects that she never saw coming.

“When I would skip a dose,” she explains, “I felt like I was dying. If I didn’t take the medicine, I had anxiety, I was jittery, and it was horrible. But if I kept giving into it, I saw myself not being able to stop … and I didn’t want to be dependent on something for the rest of my life that was meant to treat cancer when I was 16. It was a nightmare … but I was finally able to stop the pills.”

New support group for people who have lost loved ones to drugs starts this week in Baton Rouge

The Advocate - After losing her son to drugs in 2015, Gwen Knox experienced a unique kind of grief. She felt some sense of relief that her son was no longer suffering, followed immediately by extreme guilt. 

"With the relief comes the guilt because how could a parent be relieved about the death of their child?" she said. "There's so much shame connected with that death. … Parents end up grieving in secret because they don't want people to know how their child died. You're worried people will consider you a bad parent." 

Deadly opioid overdoses plateau in Louisiana, though more cases involve fentanyl

The Advocate - First, the good news: Fatal drug overdoses in Louisiana appeared to level off in 2018 after years of steady increases fueled by the nationwide opioid epidemic.

Now, the bad news. Even though the number of overdoses stabilized, it plateaued at a historically high number. And it would take many years of steep reductions to bring the rate back to where it was before the opioid crisis began.