LARGO, Fla., April 17, 2018 — Today, healthcare and community leaders gathered in Largo to highlight new and emerging collaborations to address the opioid epidemic in the Tampa Bay community. The roundtable, hosted by Allied Against Opioid Abuse (AAOA) and the Tampa Bay Healthcare Collaborative, brought together public health practitioners, first responders, community groups and the business community for a productive discussion about working together to combat the epidemic. Participants outlined the current state of the opioid crisis, shared best practices and discussed steps partners can take to support patient education and awareness.
“Opioid abuse is one of Pinellas County’s most pressing health issues, one we will solve only by everyone working together,” said Lori James, the Chief Development Officer of the Tampa Bay Healthcare Collaborative. “Bringing together stakeholders, advocates and healthcare providers, like we have done today, allows us to share best practices and discover opportunities for collaboration on reducing opioid abuse. We are grateful to Allied Against Opioid Abuse for partnering with us to address prescription opioid abuse and misuse throughout Tampa Bay.”
The multidisciplinary roundtable included representatives from the Florida Association of Free and Charitable Clinics, the Florida Academy of Pain Medicine, Florida Voices for Health, the Juvenile Welfare Board of Pinellas County, the Pinellas County Osteopathic Medical Society, the St. Petersburg Area Chamber of Commerce, Sunstar Paramedics and the Tampa Bay Healthcare Collaborative, with the support of AARP Florida and the Florida Association of Early Learning Coalitions.
“As first responders, we are on the frontlines of tackling opioid abuse and misuse, a health crisis that can have devastating results,” said John Peterson, the Chief Operating Officer of Sunstar Paramedics. “Learning how other sectors of our community are addressing prescription opioid abuse gives us a broader view of the recovery and prevention resources available to patients once they leave the ambulance.”
AAOA has worked with its national partners to create online resources and tools to help educate consumers about safe use, storage and disposal of prescription opioids. The coalition is working with local organizations, like those gathered at the roundtable, to ensure these resources and information are reaching the patients, family members and caregivers who need them.
According to a recent national poll, an estimated one in three people said they were unaware of the need to dispose of leftover prescription opioids. Recent data also point to a growing percentage of individuals who abuse prescription opioids upon receiving them for free from a friend or family member. Understanding these critical intersections can help community partners take a more proactive role in preventing abuse and misuse before it occurs.
“AAOA is encouraged by the commitment and response from partners across the broader Tampa Bay and Largo communities in the fight against opioid abuse,” said John Parker, Senior Vice President of Communications for the Healthcare Distribution Alliance, the founding member of AAOA. “Through these collaborations, we can make a meaningful difference in reversing this crisis and supporting patients, consumers and families in local communities.”
For all press inquiries, please contact Press@AgainstOpioidAbuse.org.
About Allied Against Opioid Abuse
Allied Against Opioid Abuse is a national education and awareness initiative to help prevent abuse and misuse of prescription opioids. Founded by the Healthcare Distribution Alliance, the initiative is a collaborative effort with diverse partners across the pharmaceutical supply chain, as well as organizations that are experts in public health and healthcare, including Alliance for Aging Research, American Physical Therapy Association, Caregiver Action Network, Healthcare Leadership Council, Mental Health America, National Alliance of State Pharmacy Associations, National Community Pharmacists Association, National Council on Patient Information and Education and the PA Foundation. Our goal is to contribute to solving the opioid crisis in a meaningful way by educating patients about their rights, risks and responsibilities. To learn more, visit www.AgainstOpioidAbuse.org or follow us on Twitter: @AAOA_Tweets.
Tampa Bay Healthcare Collaborative envisions a community that values health and health services for everyone. The Collaborative promotes and advances the health and wellness of those underserved through community collaborations. The Collaborative is a member-driven nonprofit that is committed to building partnerships and facilitating knowledge sharing. For more information on the Collaborative, visit www.TampaBayHealth.org.