Using our expertise to fight the opioid crisisApr 25, 2019
To address the expansive scale of the crisis, the CU Anschutz Medical Campus is marshaling its resources across the spectrum of health fields. Here are some examples.
Coordinating Colorado’s opioid response
CU Anschutz is the home of the Colorado Consortium for Prescription Drug Abuse Prevention, which coordinates Colorado’s statewide response to the opioid epidemic. Operated out of the Skaggs School of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences under the direction of Robert Valuck, professor of epidemiology for Colorado School of Public Health, the consortium’s members include faculty from each of our schools and colleges, in addition to representatives from state agencies, law enforcement and community coalitions. The consortium consults with state lawmakers about legislation, coordinates public awareness campaigns, and helps train doctors on safe prescribing practices and members of the community on how to reverse overdoses. It also supports public awareness campaigns and medicine takeback programs.
Since its establishment in 2013, this pioneering collaboration has leveraged state and institutional investments to attract more than $30 million to address drug abuse. Its innovative approach has been cited in analysis of successful responses to the opioid epidemic.
Educating health professionals
To address the shortage of health professionals equipped to deal with the opioid epidemic, CU Anschutz offers a number of trainings, certificates and degrees. The Colorado School of Public Health launched both a certificate and an MPH concentration in Population Mental Health and Well-Being, addressing mental health and substance use from a population perspective. Both programs are set to begin in Fall 2019.
Cognizant of the fact that dentists write about 12 percent of opioid prescriptions, the School of Dental Medicine offers continuing education programs to educate practicing dentists on newly developed guidelines for prescribing pain medications and best practices for discussing pain and opioids with patients.
Online continuing education courses for health professionals in opioid stewardship and preventing prescription drug abuse are operated by the Center for Health, Work and Environment in the Colorado School of Public Health. Seminars on campus have included an opioid education day, hosted by the Physical Therapy Program last fall, addressing improved approaches to pain management; a training on the signs of opioid overdose; and an International Overdose Awareness Day event that included a hands-on demonstration of how to obtain and administer Naloxone, or Narcan, a drug that reverses opioid overdoses.
Read the rest of the story in CU Anschutz Today.