I’ve just discovered that one of my colleagues, Dr. Anthony Miller, MD, will be the speaker for an upcoming Physicians’ Clinical Support System-Buprenorphine (PCSS-B) Training course on May 4, 2013, Saturday, 8:00 AM to 12:45 PM at Des Moines University, Munroe Building, 3200 Grand Avenue, Des Moines, Iowa. See the announcement:
Opioid dependence is a jugular issue as most of my readers know, and it’s an epidemic in the U.S. In fact, a recent AMA MorningRounds item revealed that more Americans are turning to heroin because there are tighter restrictions on prescription painkillers. This is leading to a sharp uptick in heroin overdoses, crime and other public health crises.
Taken from the announcement, the reasons why this issue is critically important are:
Opioid dependence is epidemic in the United States, with increasing numbers addicted to heroin and burgeoning abuse of prescription opioid analgesics. Buprenorphine, the most recent addition to the pharmacotherapies available to treat opioid dependence, is novel among the opioid pharmacotherapies because of its partial agonist properties. It has been placed on Schedule III and is available by prescription from a physician’s office-based practice.
While we have made progress in training physicians, the gap in providing effective treatment of opioid use disorders continues to widen, moving beyond heroin addicted individuals to a much larger and diverse segment of the population. This increase is predominantly due to an alarming increase in addiction to prescription opioid analgesic medications.
In 2009, 7 million Americans age 12 and older had taken a prescription pain reliever, tranquilizer, stimulant, or sedative for nonmedical purposes at least once in the year prior to being surveyed. In 2009, 180,000 Americans age 12 and older had abused heroin at least once in the year prior to being surveyed. While not all of these individuals will go on to become addicted to opioids, a significant percentage of them will. The National Institute on Drug Abuse estimated that 23% of those who try heroin will go on to become addicted to the drug. It is also estimated that 1.9 million misusers of prescription opioid analgesic medications meet diagnostic criteria for an opioid use disorder and need treatment.
Recognizing the impact of this addiction, as well as learning how to treat opioid use disorders, is an important step in combatting this ever growing medical problem.
Dr. Miller is also the Director of our medical student clinical clerkship in psychiatry amongst many other duties. He’s a real motivator, a class act, and I don’t know where he gets his energy!