ENGLEWOOD, Colo. (KDVR) – Health professionals across Colorado and the nation are battling the same pandemic as the COVID-19 pandemic: opioid addiction.
In Colorado, fentanyl overdoses have increased since the pandemic and are eight times higher than in 2019.
Dr Donald Stader, an emergency room and addiction doctor at the Swedish Medical Center, says they are doing all they can to help curb opioid addiction.
“We had to give people a shortcut,” Stader said.
Stader, founder Project Naloxone, said healthcare workers trained to spot signs of addiction and send naloxone home to discharged patients may be struggling.
Naloxone is a lifesaver in case of an overdose.
“Typically, the first (opioid) exposure is through the health system,” says Stader.
In recent months, the approach has expanded to obstetrics, and an estimated 100 patients have been sent home with naloxone, he said.
Stader noted the Swedish Medical Center has significantly reduced the use of opioids for pain in the ER, limiting opioid use by 70 percent.
Stader says the Swedish Medical Center has connected more than 200 patients with peer support specialists since 2019. The Peer Support Specialists Effort is an experimental program that connects people who may be suffering from peer support. Struggling with people who have overcome addiction.
https://kdvr.com/news/local/opioid-overdoses-strain-colorado-hospitals-alongside-pandemic/ Opioid overdoses stress Colorado hospitals along with pandemic