Fentanyl and other synthetic opioids lie at the forefront of today’s crisis. Their potency and high price on the streets make them a lethal danger in the opioid epidemic. Behavioral health professionals must understand the harm caused by fentanyl and other opioids to fight back against abuse and addiction.
What Is Fentanyl?
Fentanyl is a synthetic opioid with a potency 100 times higher than morphine and 50 times stronger than heroin. It comes in the form of branded prescription drugs such as Actiq and Duragesic. The drug also has street forms with names like Jackpot and TNT. Some of these street drugs consist of heroin laced with fentanyl for a stronger effect.
Doctors generally only prescribe fentanyl for patients with severe conditions. Certain analogs to fentanyl, such as carfentanyl, have such a high potency that they require protective gear to use safely.
How Does Fentanyl Fit Into the Opioid Crisis?According to the CDC, the opioid crisis has three waves that occurred over the course of two and a half decades. The third wave started in 2013 and signaled an increase in overdoses related to synthetic opioids. Deaths related to synthetic opioid overdose often involve illicitly manufactured fentanyl (IMF).
Many people who take IMF don’t realize they’re taking it. Illegal opioid sellers cut heroin and other drugs with fentanyl to enhance the high their products create. Fentanyl’s strength results in severe dependency that causes users to seek out increasingly stronger opioids.
Fentanyl Usage StatisticsConsider the following statistics:
The Importance of Combating Fentanyl Abuse and AddictionSynthetic opioids such as fentanyl caused over 19,000 deaths in 2016. These numbers increase every year. However, behavioral health professionals can help our country reduce these statistics and save lives. They can detect fentanyl addiction and abuse during care, sometimes before abuse even happens. Their role in the healthcare system gives them prime opportunities to refer patients to opioid use specialists. You can fight back against fentanyl abuse by:
Using AccuCare and the Opioid Risk Tool to Predict Aberrant Behaviors
At Orion Healthcare Technology, we want to help behavioral health providers serve their patients. That’s why we added the Opioid Risk Tool (ORT) to our AccuCare EHR application. Developed using in-depth research, the ORT employs simple questions to determine a patient’s risk of opioid abuse. It creates a score that quantifies your patients’ risk of showing aberrant behaviors, or activities that indicate possible abuse. With over 90 percent accuracy, the ORT helps you understand which patients to monitor for opioid abuse.
To learn more about AccuCare, contact our customer support team or request a free demo.
We are pleased to announce the new Opioid Risk Tool (ORT) feature in our AccuCare online system. Opioid abuse impacts the well-being of everyone, and we want to contribute solutions to this nationwide epidemic. Let us explain the importance of preventing opioid addiction and how the ORT can help.
The Importance of Opioid Addiction PreventionOpioid addiction is a critical public health emergency. A surge of prescriptions for opioid painkillers in the 1990s escalated into widespread dependence. Today, over 115 Americans die every day from opioid overdose.
Addiction puts significant stress on the mental and physical health of patients and their loved ones. The United States must dedicate valuable resources to combat the epidemic. Reports estimate that we pay more than $500 billion annually on the opioid crisis. While patient lives are more valuable than any amount of money, this situation also places an economic burden on our country.
Behavioral health specialists have a vital role to play in opioid addiction prevention. Many opioid abuse risk factors involve trauma, mental health issues and previous substance abuse. Behavioral health practices often serve patients who have these vulnerabilities. This field has prime opportunities to identify aberrant behaviors before dependence becomes severe. Using tools such as the ORT helps professionals identify the potential for abuse.
Detecting Prescription Opioid Abuse With the ORTAccuCare’s ORT feature uses a screening tool developed in a 2005 study by Lynn R. Webster, MD, and Rebecca M. Webster. They evaluated 185 pain patients with a self-administered form of the ORT. This questionnaire had over a 90 percent accuracy detecting low-risk and high-risk patients. Patients with high scores were very likely to express aberrant behaviors that indicate opioid abuse within the following 12 months.
The ORT automates opioid abuse risk assessments using simple-to-understand technology. It records the following risk factors:
Enter the answers to nine yes-or-no questions to calculate a patient’s risk of addiction and abuse. Each answer provides a score dependent on the patient’s gender. The same page presents a key showing the level of risk indicated:
You do not need to do any of the math yourself — the ORT tracks your patient’s score automatically. After you finish the assessment, you can visit the Screening Tools/Supplements page to generate a report of the results.
About Orion Healthcare Technology and AccuCareAt Orion Healthcare Technology, we want to give behavioral health practices the tools they need to improve their patients’ lives. Our AccuCare online application allows you to manage your patient records and practice management securely. It helps you every step of the way, whether you need to complete a patient intake or process billing.
It requires careful consideration to choose the right electronic health record system. We provide a free AccuCare demo to help you determine if our software meets your needs. Call us at 844-359-0540, or submit a demo request to get in touch with an Orion representative.