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American Psychiatric Nurses Association launches online education to address opioid epidemic

American Psychiatric Nurses Association launches online education to address opioid epidemic

07-27 | CDAH Team

Opioid overdose has been one of the fastest growing drug problems in America today. Prescription drugs occupy the third place among the most commonly abused category of drugs-ahead of cocaine, heroin and methamphetamine and behind marijuana and alcohol. An estimated 20 percent of the people in America are believed to have used prescription drugs for non-medical purposes.

The country recorded the highest number of drug overdose deaths in 2014, with nearly half a million people losing their lives to drug overdoses. According to the United Nations World Drug Report 2016, 60 percent of these deaths were attributed to consumption of opioids, including pain relievers or heroin.

Making resources available to combat overdose problem

In an attempt to address the country’s opioid abuse and overdose epidemic, the American Psychiatric Nurses Association (APNA) has come up with an online education program, which is being made available to the nurses across the country. The education program that primarily revolves around effective treatments for opioid use disorders can be accessed by registered nurses, psychiatric-mental health registered nurses and advanced practice nurses.

“According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), every day more Americans die from drug overdoses than from car crashes,” said APNA president Mary Ann Nihart. She also said that the majority of these overdoses involve legal prescription drugs. APNA appreciated the White House for making significant efforts to combat this pressing problem.

“In our role as the voice of psychiatric-mental health nursing, we have created this education to empower the almost 4 million registered nurses across the country to help expand access to care and ensure that persons affected by this epidemic receive the treatment they need to reach recovery,” said Nihart.

The online education program

The country’s largest health care workforce will have access to educational sessions that highlight the effective measures to be taken to help people with opioid use disorders benefit from evidence-based individualized treatment options. The program will also assist the nurse community in increasing access to these treatments in their vicinity. The online program consists of presentations that outline the country’s morbidity and mortality statistics, as far as prescription opioid drugs and heroin are concerned.

Besides having access to the basic modules, the psychiatric-mental health nurses and advanced practice nurses will learn how and when to use methadone, buprenorphine and naloxone, and also assist patients with non-pharmacologic evidence-based psychotherapies. The online program will equip advanced practice nurses to assist and treat special cases of opioid use disorder, where the patients are pregnant women, diagnosed with comorbid HIV/AIDS or HCV and any co-occurring mental health disorders.

Road to recovery

There is a dire need to address the alarming and complex problem of opioid overdose in the United States. Although the White House is taking steps to fight this ever-growing problem, the situations is still grave and requires more attention. Despite the availability of effective and proven therapies to treat opioid use disorder, it is extremely important for people to come forward with their problem and seek help. Abuse of any substance can end someone’s life prematurely and no one wants that to happen to a near or dear one.

Opioid overdose is a problem that may not be tackled at a personal level without a professional’s help. If you or your loved one is addicted to opioids, you can contact the Colorado Drug Addiction Helpline. Our representatives can help you find one of the best prescription drug abuse treatment centers in USA. Chat online or call at our 24/7 helpline number (866) 218-7546 for an expert advice.


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