Privately-owned pharmaceutical company Kaleo, has just partnered with some of the country’s most prominent authorities in pain management to kick off America Starts Talking, a campaign geared towards providing healthcare givers, patients, families and friends a reliable venue to discuss and learn about the safe use of prescription opioid pain medications. Joining Kaleo are the American Academy of Pain Management, American Chronic Pain Association, The Pain Community and U.S. Pain Foundation.
Anyone concerned about or wishing to learn more is encouraged to visit the campaign’s official website: AmericaStartsTalking.com. The website contains vital and easy to understand information about the safe use of these pain management medications, potential side effects, and how to recognize and respond in an opioid emergency, such as accidental overdose.
Estimates show that millions of Americans rely on a form of prescription opioid medication to manage pain. These agents, however, tend to cause a number of side effects that can affect one’s daily quality of life, and can actually be life-threatening. In fact, an average of 44 people in the US die every day from prescription opioids, with over 80% of these deaths classified as unintentional.
“As someone who has lived with pain for over 40 years, I understand how crucial a role medications play in managing symptoms and the stigma that can go hand-in-hand with this type of prescribed therapy,” said Penney Cowan, founder and CEO of the American Chronic Pain Association. “The hope is that when ‘America Starts Talking’ more about this important issue, some of the misperceptions about opioid use will change and we’ll see an increase in conversation surrounding safe use of opioid pain medication as part of a pain management plan that could ultimately save lives.”
Pain management authorities strongly recommend that patients taking prescription opioids discuss the following with their healthcare provider:
- Taking the medication as directed
- Interactions with other medications and/or alcohol
- Signs and symptoms of overdose
- Having naloxone, an opioid antidote, in the home so that friends, family members or caregivers can rapidly intervene in the event of an opioid emergency
The AmericaStartsTalking.com website offers visitors free, downloadable discussion guides and interactive educational materials on recognizing and responding to an opioid emergency.
“Many people think an opioid emergency could never happen to them but the truth is it can happen to anyone where an opioid may be present,” said Dr. Anita Gupta, Vice Chairman and Associate Professor at Drexel University College of Medicine in the Department of Anesthesiology, Division of Pain Medicine and Regional Anesthesiology. “Recent survey data show that starting conversations on this topic is not always easy to do and therefore is sometimes avoided – on both sides.6 Now is the time to foster lines of communication, bring this issue out in the open and help people impacted by pain be prepared in the event of an opioid emergency.”