COCONUT CREEK, Fla., September 5, 2018 — Healthcare and senior advocates gathered today in Coconut Creek to outline the current state of the opioid abuse crisis and share best practices to support patient education and awareness among the aging population. The workshop, hosted by Allied Against Opioid Abuse (AAOA) in coordination with AARP Florida; Aging and Disability Resource Center of Broward County; Alzheimer’s Association, Southeast Florida Chapter; and Humana, brought together health practitioners, community leaders and residents living in the senior community to discuss the rights, risks and responsibilities associated with prescription opioid use.
“Responsible handling of prescription opioids is critical to preventing the unintended use, misuse and abuse of these potentially dangerous medications,” said Yvette Martinez, Associate State Director for AARP Florida.” The more senior adults who exercise safe storage and disposal habits, the safer our communities will be.”
AAOA is a national educational initiative bringing together local and national stakeholders in healthcare, public health and within the pharmaceutical supply chain to raise awareness about prescription opioid abuse and misuse prevention efforts. AAOA has developed a full suite of online resources and materials to help educate patients, their relatives and friends about proactive steps they can take to ensure old or unused prescriptions do not end up in the wrong hands.
“Aging patients dealing with chronic illnesses, particularly Alzheimer’s disease, are often in possession of a range of medications. Ensuring proper management of these drugs is necessary to avoiding unnecessary consumption and harm,” said Alexander Lewy, Director of Community Outreach with the Alzheimer’s Association, Southeast Florida Chapter. “Events like these that demonstrate safe disposal methods and promote awareness greatly benefit patients and their loved ones.”
Event attendees listened to a panel discussion on the best ways to store pain medications and were trained on how to properly store and dispose of medications. According to a recent national poll, 30 percent of respondents said they did not know how to safely dispose of opioids, and nearly the same percentage said they did not know they needed to dispose of leftover prescription opioids, raising concerns about the likelihood of abuse or misuse of prescription opioids. However, nearly 70 percent of respondents said they would be more likely to safely dispose of these medications if given information on how to do so.
“Safely using, storing and disposing of opioids are important parts of addressing the opioid abuse epidemic, because misuse often starts in the home,” said John Parker, Senior Vice President of Communications with the Healthcare Distribution Alliance, the founding member of AAOA. “By arming patients of all ages and their caregivers with information about prescription opioid safety, we can ensure that these medicines are being used as intended.”
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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.