Monfredo: Opioid Crisis Being Addressed In The State & In Our City Schools
Sunday, April 03, 2016
The new law titled, “An Act Relative to Substance Use, Treatment, Education and Prevention” will establish tighter controls over healthcare facilities, doctors, pharmacies, and other authorities relative to the evaluation and treatment of patients who are suspected of having a substance use disorder as well as the process of prescribing medication.
Starting in July, the state will mandate that hospitals administer a substance abuse evaluation to anyone who shows up in an emergency room believed to be suffering from an opioid overdose. The act provides for civil liability protection for any person who administers naloxone ( a life saving nasal spray called Narcan) in an attempt to provide emergency care, except in cases of gross negligence.
The law is on-going for it establishes a special commission to study and make recommendations by December 1, 2016 regarding the incorporation of additional professional training regarding safe and effective pain treatment and prescribing practices.
Public School’s mirror what goes on in the community, and therefore are part of the new law. They will be asked to be involved in screening two grade levels. The grade levels will be recommended by the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education but will not be implemented until the 2017-2018 school year. The law requires that schools notify parents or guardians of all attending students of the substance abuse policy and post the policy on the school’s website.
The law also requires that the substance abuse policies of the school district be filed with DESE and that any standards and rules enforcing the policy be prescribed by the school committee in conjunction with the superintendent or the board of trustees of a charter school. Guidance and recommendations will be given to school districts by the Department of Public Health and DESE to assist schools with developing and implementing effective substance abuse use prevention and abuse education policies. Recommendations will include educating parents and guardians on warning signs of substance abuse and providing available resources.
In addition, according to the law, a pupil or pupil’s parent or guardian may opt out of the screening by written notification at any time prior or during the grade level screening.
Worcester appears to be ahead of most communities for the City and the School Department have been dealing with opioid epedemic. In a report on Opioid Misuse addressed at the last school committee meeting on a item filed by me… Cassandra Andersen of the City’s Division of Public Health and the Worcester Public Schools Director of Nursing Debra McGovern publicly addressed this issue.
The data in their presentation showed that there has been a substantial rise of overdose incidents the past ten years with over a 1000 overdoses in 2015 as compared to 96 in 2006 with 38 of those being fatal. The age level with the most overdoses is the 21 to 30 year old adults. The data indicated that age matters for 9 out of 10 people who have a diagnosable substance abuse disorder began to smoke, drink and or use other drugs before the age of 18.
Research also shows that there are 8.3 million children in the nation who reside with at least one parent addicted to drugs or alcohol and 19% of people suffering from opioid addiction are in treatment facilities and also have children. The risks for children growing up in drug homes are the following: neglect, abuse, isolation, missed school, and death. Not a pretty picture!
As addressed by both speakers… prevention is the key. We need to educate our children in school through our health education curriculum and in the community. It is essential that collaboration among community stakeholders take place.
Readers may want to go on line and check out the LEARN2COPE.ORG organization for it is a peer led support network for families dealing with addiction and recovery. Every chapter of the Learn to Cope holds weekly meetings run by experienced facilitators who have been there. These meetings offer support, education, resources, and most importantly HOPE for recovery. According to Ms. Andersen, meetings in Worcester are every Thursday at 7:00 p.m. If you have any questions contact Terri Nabulsi at 508 873-3968 or email her at [email protected] with any questions. If you are looking for additional information or information about the Regional Response to Addition Partnership contact Cassandra Andersen at [email protected]. or at 857-208-9303.
This is a serious problem but it’s a problem that can be solved if we all work together.
Related Slideshow: #50 to #1: Doctors in Worcester That Received the Most Money from Drug Companies
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