Kicking off the show is a keynote presentation entitled, “Who Cares? Mental Health, Long-Term Care, Chronic Pain, and the Opioid Epidemic,” which features a panel that includes Dwayne Akins (Marsh), Chandra Vedak (Horizons Behavioral Health), and Ya’Sheaka Williams (Quintairos, Prieto, Wood & Boyer, P.A.). We sat down with all three to get a preview of what to expect.
HOW DOES THE OPIOID EPIDEMIC FACTOR INTO YOUR DISCUSSIONS?
The opioid epidemic is a significant factor to consider when discussing mental health challenges associated with long-term care and chronic pain. Many people who experience chronic pain also struggle with mental health issues, such as depression and anxiety. In the past, opioids were frequently prescribed as a way to manage chronic pain, but this has led to widespread addiction and overdose.
For individuals in long-term care, chronic pain can be a significant problem, leading to decreased quality of life and a greater likelihood of developing mental health issues. However, the use of opioids to manage pain in these populations must be carefully monitored to avoid contributing to the opioid epidemic.
Alternative treatments for chronic pain, such as physical therapy, exercise, and non-opioid pain medications, can be effective and may be less likely to lead to addiction. It is important to address both the physical and mental health needs of individuals in long-term care, and to consider the potential risks and benefits of opioid use in managing chronic pain.
WHAT DO YOU HOPE ATTENDEES WILL WALK OUT OF THE SESSION HAVING LEARNED?
A lot of mistakes and missteps have contributed to where we are today on the issue of managing chronic pain. In this session, attendees will be able to identify individuals at risk of opioid dependence and how underlying psychiatric issues contribute to and slow recovery from injury. They will also learn about the concrete steps that could be taken so that history does not repeat itself.
WHAT ARE SOME OF THE WAYS YOU APPROACHED PLANNING FOR THIS SESSION, WHICH COVERS A WIDE VARIETY OF GROUPS?
This session is one that spans all walks of life, claims areas, legal, and medical. The topic was selected because of the impact that opioids have on all of our lives. Being able to present on an impactful and far-reaching topic is very important to all of us. We were able to draw from one another and our experiences. Dr. Vedak is passionate about opioid addiction, use, and misuse and he has a wealth of knowledge. Akin’s experience from the carrier/broker side includes planning for risks associated with opioid prescription use in claims. There is a lot of information online from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention that we were able to use for substantive information on efforts that the government is taking to improve conditions. We have roundtabled our topic and discussed ways in which the presentation can be both impactful and informative. We hope that everyone is not only engaged, but also empowered to make a difference.
Register online at theclm.org to learn more about opioids, personality factors related to opioids and addiction, legal perspectives for detox and addiction, state requirements for opioid dispensing, and more.