education outreach programs in the schools about opioid and other prescription drug abuse.
OPIOIDS 101 BY THE CHILDREN’S COALITION FOR NORTHEAST LOUISIANA
pioids are a class of drugs that are used to treat acute pain, specifically by minimizing the body’s perception of pain by binding to the opioid receptor. They include prescription medications, like morphine, oxycodone, hydrocodone, codeine, hydromorphone and fentanyl, and illegal drugs, such as heroin. In addition to masking pain, these drugs also produce feelings of euphoria and well-being as they act on the brain’s reward system. Opioids, when taken over an extended period of time, cause a person to require higher and higher doses of the medication to achieve the desired effect. This is called tolerance. The combined effect of euphoria and tolerance leads individuals to become addicted to these medications, especially if taken for an extended period of time or in higher doses than prescribed. The other effect seen when an individual consumes, either on purpose or by accident, too much opioids is the slowing and then the eventual stopping of breathing that can lead to death, if not reversed. Stephen Hill, PharmD, BCPS is a clinical assistant professor with the ULM College of Pharmacy. His job responsibilities are divided between providing services as a clinical pharmacist in the University HealthConway Family Medicine Clinic, precepting 130 APRIL 2018 | WWW.BAYOULIFEMAG.COM
4th year pharmacy students on site, and teaching and mentoring pharmacy students and participating in research at the school. Born and raised in Monroe and graduated from Neville High School in 2001, Dr. Hill Graduated from ULM College of Pharmacy in 2008 and completed a one-year postgraduate
In 2016 there were over 42,000 deaths nationwide from opioid overdoses, with almost 1,000 deaths in Louisiana. pharmacy practice residency at the University of Mississippi Medical Center in 2009. He worked as an inpatient clinical pharmacist for 5 years at Methodist Dallas Medical Center in Dallas, TX. and moved back to Monroe 3 ½ years ago to take his current job with the ULM College of Pharmacy. Dr. Hill currently works with Pharmacy students, the Children’s Coalition and other partners in Prescription Drug Take Back Day, April 28, as well as other
Q: Why is it important for teens and their parents to know about opiods? A: I want to start by saying the disease of addiction knows no boundaries and affects individuals regardless of gender, race, religion, profession or socioeconomic status. The opioid crisis is currently having a devastating effect on our country, as well as locally on a state and regional level. In 2016, there were over 42,000 deaths nationwide from overdoses on opioids, with almost 1,000 deaths in Louisiana. As we have started to curb the use of prescription opioids to address this crisis, opioid users were left to find illegal drugs, like heroin, to meet their cravings and make their withdrawal symptoms better. This had led to an increase in heroin overdoses, as well as an increase in serious diseases, such as HIV or Hepatitis C, that can be transmitted via the sharing of needles. Q: What can we do as a community to address the opioid crisis? A: As community members, we need to take the disease of addiction out of the shadows, remove the stigma associated with the word addict, and educate our children on the dangers of both legal and illegal opioids. Everyone can help by participating in local events like National Prescription Drug Take Back Day, which occurs next in our community on April 28th at participating Brookshire’s stores. This is an event that allows you to get rid of any unused prescription drugs and provides an easy way to keep them out of someone else’s hands. Q: What can I do as a parent to help keep my children safe? A: If someone in your household is taking opioids legally, inquire about purchasing the medication naloxone and receive education on CONTINUED ON PAGE 197