NEWS BLOG from UPMC and the University of Pittsburgh Schools of the Health Sciences

Archive for April, 2016

The Opioid Epidemic: Pitt Public Health Tackles Knowledge Gaps

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This is the final post in a blog series entitled “The Opioid Epidemic,” a collaboration between UPMC and the University of Pittsburgh Schools of the Health Sciences highlighting the doctors, researchers and nurses making significant efforts to reduce diversion and misuse of prescription opioids. For more information about the series or resources to help with drug addiction, click here.   

The Pittsburgh region is at the center of an epidemic, but it isn’t an infectious disease. It’s an insidious illness that has been quietly spreading in communities, killing more people each year than car crashes – opioid drug overdoses.

The number of people dying in the region has more than tripled in the past decade, and the University of Pittsburgh Graduate School of Public Health is piloting six research projects to address the knowledge gaps of the opioid epidemic in a year-long initiative expected to lead to much larger life-saving efforts.

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The Opioid Epidemic: One Nurse’s Special Touch

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This is the fourth post in a blog series entitled “The Opioid Epidemic,” a collaboration between UPMC and the University of Pittsburgh Schools of the Health Sciences highlighting the doctors, researchers and nurses making significant efforts to reduce diversion and misuse of prescription opioids. For more information about the series or resources to help with drug addiction, click here.    

As the patient care manager of the Pregnancy Recovery Center at Magee-Womens Hospital of UPMC, Stephanie Bobby has created a safe haven for pregnant women struggling with an opioid dependency.

Watch how Bobby and the PRC staff treat their patients with the compassion and respect.

Women interested in learning more about the program can call 412-641-1211.

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The Opioid Epidemic: UPMC Community Pediatric Practices Screen for Substance Abuse

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This is the third post in a blog series entitled “The Opioid Epidemic,” a collaboration between UPMC and the University of Pittsburgh Schools of the Health Sciences highlighting the doctors, researchers and nurses making significant efforts to reduce diversion and misuse of prescription opioids. For more information about the series or resources to help with drug addiction, click here.    

Western Psychiatric Institute and Clinic of UPMC (WPIC) and Children’s Community Pediatrics (CCP) have joined forces in pediatric practices to help tackle the rising rate of substance abuse. At several CCP locations, doctors are screening patients between the ages of 11 and 18 to determine if they are at high-risk for developing substance abuse problems or if they already are abusing. So far, they have screened over 1,000 kids in the first six months.

“The younger the child or adolescent is when they start using substances, the more likely they will be to develop a long-term substance abuse problem,” said Abigail Schlesinger, M.D., a child and adolescent psychologist at Children’s and WPIC. “We know that early detection of substance abuse and immediate interventions can drastically reduce that risk.”

When families arrive at their pediatric appointments, the child or adolescent patient will complete a brief questionnaire with behavioral health questions such as, “Do you have friends who use drugs or alcohol?” Or, “How many times in the last year have you used pot?”

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