ELIZABETHTOWN, NC (WWAY) — Wednesday night in Elizabethtown, Lower Cape Fear Hospice held an event on opioid abuse, meant to educate people on the difference between pain management and addiction.
Representatives from Lower Cape Fear Hospice and Carolina Crossroads, a Christian faith-based drug addiction recovery center, spoke at the seminar.
Several young men dealing with addiction shared their personal experiences, and hospice chief medical officer Kelly Erola said 21-29 percent of patients prescribed opioids misuse them, and those prescribing them need to be aware of the risks and warning signs.
“We really do a thorough assessment of their pain, an examination, history, to find out what’s really going on,” said Erola. “And then a trial of medication, and if opioids are the answer, then we should see improved function, and if not then they may not be the answer.”
Erola says a new DEA policy makes it illegal for hospice nurses to throw away a patient’s medication after he or she dies, making it easier to fall into the wrong hands.