All Courses Forums Addressing the Opioid Addiction Crisis Forum DISCUSSION THREAD: Overview of the Crisis – Robert Couch, MD, MBA. Reply To: DISCUSSION THREAD: Overview of the Crisis – Robert Couch, MD, MBA.


Rose McKeown

Am trying to catch up today here in the discussion thread.

I very much appreciated Dr. Couch’s introduction and how he shares that this crisis is spreading across the country, if it’s not in your area yet, it will be! I work in a critical access hospital and our patients are mostly elderly. We do have many living with addiction, either alcohol or chemical, coming to our emergency room but the chaplain is not often called for those cases. If someone is in crisis, mental health is usually called in. Their office is just across the street from the hospital. So, I have not had much ministry experience with patients suffering from drug addiction but I know it is a huge crisis here in our area from what I read in newspapers and hear on the news and from workshops put on by police and school departments. Also, several of our nursing staff have lost children due to drug overdose and I am very much present to them and even had the funeral for one of the sons. I am familiar with alcohol addiction as it runs in our family and I have taken part in a program for Adult Children of Alcoholics and in Al-Anon meetings. I remember an article where Richard Rohr shares how the twelve steps are a gift of the Spirit to the Church here in the US. In my experience, these twelve step programs are the best non-medical treatment for addiction of any kind. Dr. Couch spoke of this.
A learning from his presentation was the slide on heroin and fentanyl and how a small quantity can be lethal and how people do not know what they are getting off the street. There was a woman who came to our grief support group and her son died to an overdose that he had bought on the street. I hope that this slide is shown to all of us across the country but especially our youth. And, the importance of first responders having naloxone with them.
I appreciated his sharing on ‘how did we get here?” How Joint Commission led us down the wrong path. The pressure that is put on providers to provide more meds to treat pain-that patient satisfaction score. Am wondering if Joint Commission realizes this and if they are doing something about it???
Call to Action- all of us! Education is a way out of this problem.