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Nurse anesthetists tackle opioid crisis

Posted: 6:57 AM, Jan 21, 2020
Updated: 2020-01-21 06:57:28-05
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LEXINGTON, Ky. (LEX 18) — It's no secret there's an opioid crisis in Kentucky, and often, an addiction starts by using prescribed medication. That's why medical professionals started a statewide initiative to make sure patients know about proper drug use in their homes.

"We kept looking and it's like, 'what else can we do, things that are outside of the operating room?' And that's how this initiative started,” said Jana Bailey, President of KyANA, or the Kentucky Association of Nurse Anesthetists. "Usually, depending on the research, 6 to 19 percent of people who are opioid naive, that means they've never had a pain pill, after their surgery, they are going to continue to use medication, their pain medicine, for longer than is deemed necessary.”

The Association launched the Opioid Stewardship Initiative for the week of Jan. 19-25. CRNAs across the state will get the tools to help patients safely dispose of medicine at home.

This includes providing patients with a packet of DisposeRx, a treatment that will dissolve pills.

"It's very simple. You open up your prescription bottle, at least only one-third full of medication. You're going to fill it with water two-thirds full and then you open up the packet,” said Bailey.

Then you add the DisposeRx and shake the mixture for 30 to 60 seconds. Once it dissolves, the bottle is safe to toss in the trash.

"Less than a minute, you have removed temptation out of your house. Your kids aren’t going to get exposed to it inadvertently. You're not going to have teenagers who are looking at potentially experimenting,” said bailey.

By making it easier to get rid of expired or unwanted medication and educating patients, Bailey hopes this initiative will change the mindset of keeping drugs in the home for ‘just in case’ reasons and make a shift in the opioid crisis.

CRNAs will also work with doctor's offices and pharmacies to get this information out to their community. You can learn more by visiting www.kyana.org.