Course Description 44

Prescription Drug Abuse & Misuse – Public Health Solutions
Melissa Heinen, BSN, RN, MPH, CPH
Course Description:

Medication abuse/misuse and related health consequences are a significant public health problem. In recent years, more than 20,000 persons died annually of a drug overdose in the United States. Opioid drugs, such as prescription pain relievers, were the most common substances associated with these deaths.

Recent studies have shown a rise in prescription pain medication-related poisonings managed in the emergency department and substance abuse treatment admissions for opioid addiction. Illegal distribution of prescription drugs has also been recorded by such agencies as poison centers and the United States National Drug Intelligence Center. Meanwhile, studies have documented a systematic under treatment of chronic and recurrent pain.

A successful prevention initiative balances appropriate dispensing of prescription pain medications to manage pain without the diversion of these medications. The prescription pain relievers have widespread availability and easy access; therefore, prevention is difficult.

Several communities have implemented promising medication abuse/misuse-related prevention programs. These public health modeled programs provide a continuum of services that focus on the overall population rather than address one individual at a time.

This course will overall review basic public health prevention theories and program development models and discuss what other communities have done to try to prevent medication abuse/ misuse and related health consequences. The participants will use public health tools and information to begin developing a prevention plan for their community.

This four week course requires 8 hours of work over its duration.

This course is not scheduled at this time

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