Unintended Harm and Intentional Hope

By Tyler Hemsley, PharmD, C-WHO’s Chief Officer of Healthcare Innovation

The scramble to understand and strategically tackle the opioid epidemic continues. It’s still difficult to know the full depth and breadth of the unintended harm that has been caused.  Even as we try to gain our footing through appropriately limiting and tapering opioid prescribing, increasing availability of naloxone and educating patients and caregivers on its life-saving impact; we continue to see overdose deaths rising at an alarming rate – almost entirely due to high potency and synthetic products like fentanyl.  An incredible demand has been created over the past 15-20 years, and the response to a diminishing, or more tightly regulated supply line appears to be to seek cheaper, more dangerous, illicit alternatives.   

There are so many contributing factors in this atrocity, and I don’t see the benefit in finger pointing, so I won’t.  

I find it more helpful to take a thoughtful look at the current state.  The circumstance is neutral.  We are where we are.  So where to from here?   

Our goal in the rEASON project is to coordinate with existing stakeholders on the care team, incorporate feedback and representation from the patient/caregiver community, and help providers navigate the difficult discussions around pain control. 

The hope is that through these efforts, we can improve the current state as it stands, meeting people where they are, and offering help.

In addition, we hope that by normalizing these conversations we can have an impact upstream, as so many programs have shown is possible – limiting or eliminating opioids in favor of a multi-modal pain control plan.   

There is real hope in this.  It doesn’t completely reverse all the unintended harm, there’s no hope in changing or reversing the past.  This is a course correction for the future.  It is a better path.  Intentional hope and systematic progress build positive momentum.  I hope you can feel it too.  Please follow the links to learn more about rEASON and other transformational projects currently underway at C-WHO.  For more resources, check out our Resource Library. 

  • pharmacy
  • opioids
  • opioid use disorder
  • opioid epidemic
  • substance use disorder
  • recovery
Linda CardwellUnintended Harm and Intentional Hope
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