In observance of Overdose Awareness Day, Baptist Health Hardin advises caution
All substances that could play a part in overdoses.
ELIZABETHTOWN, KY (Aug. 29, 2022) – Overdose Awareness Day, observed annually on August 31, is a time set aside each year to raise awareness about overdose and recognize the toll that substance abuse and drug-related deaths take on families.
According to the 2021 Overdose Fatality Report (odcp.ky.gov, 2022), a publication of the Kentucky Office of Drug Control Policy, overdose deaths have been steadily increasing for several years. From 2019 to 2020, Kentucky’s overdose deaths increased from 1,316 to 1,964, a 49% increase. That number jumped to 2,250 overdose deaths in 2021, a 14.5% increase from 2020.
While Overdose Awareness Day recognizes all substances that could play a part in overdoses, controlled substances are of particular concern.
“We’ve seen a growing number of overdose patients in the Emergency Department over the last five years,” stated Deanna Parker, Baptist Health Hardin director of emergency services. “In 2021, fentanyl was linked with 73% of overdose deaths in Kentucky. That mirrors what we’re seeing in Hardin County, as fentanyl is the second most commonly used drug, directly followed by other synthetic drugs.”
Prescription Medications and the Community’s Role in Ending Opioid Abuse
Abuse of prescription medications is partly to blame for the current epidemic sweeping communities nationwide. Studies show that a majority of abused prescription drugs come from family and friends, and from home medicine cabinets.
While pain-relief medications can be helpful for patients, caution must be taken in the consumption of prescription medications and in their disposal.
“We all have a role to play in eliminating overdose deaths, not only in our community, but in the world at large,” stated Jamie Lane, director of pharmacy services at Baptist Health Hardin. “We begin by educating consumers about the risks of prescription opioid misuse.”
Lane offers important suggestions to reduce the risk of opioid abuse. “Patients should never take prescription opioids in greater amounts or more often than they are prescribed. They should always let their doctor know about any side effects they are experiencing while using prescription medications, but opioids in particular.”
Lane offers additional recommendations in the use and disposal of prescription medications:
- Avoid taking opioids with alcohol and other substances or medications.
- Always talk to your physician about other medications you are taking before starting a new medication.
- Do not share or sell prescription medication to anyone.
- Store medication in a secure location out of reach of family, friends, children, and strangers.
- Do not leave medications in plain sight, such as in your car.
- Dispose of unwanted, unused, and expired medication so that it does not fall into the wrong hands.
To dispose of unused prescription opioids at the end of treatment, find your local community take back program, or talk to your pharmacy about taking back medications for disposal. Local law enforcement agencies also have drug disposal locations. Flushing medication down the toilet is discouraged because of potential impacts to the local water supply.
When disposing of empty medication containers, remove the label or use a marker to conceal all patient information so that someone else cannot refill your medication.
Baptist Health offers medication return receptacle bins where you can dispose expired, unwanted, and unused prescription medications. Needles are not accepted at these locations.
Baptist Health Louisville, 4000 Kresge Way, Louisville KY 40207
- Pharmacy Location: The pharmacy is located on the first floor of the hospital and is easily accessed from Entrance A (Main Entrance).
- Pharmacy hours: Monday-Friday from 7 a.m. - 6 p.m. Saturday and Sunday from 8 a.m. - 4:30 p.m., closed for lunch from 12-12:30 p.m.
Baptist Health La Grange, 1025 New Moody Ln, La Grange, KY 40031
- Pharmacy Hours: Monday – Friday, 7 a.m. – 5 p.m.
Baptist Health Floyd, 1850 State Street, New Albany, IN 47150
- A medication return receptacle is located in the Emergency Department and accessible 24/7.
Baptist Health Hardin, 913 N Dixie Hwy, Elizabethtown, KY 42701
- Pharmacy Location: The pharmacy is located on the first floor of the hospital and is located in the lobby near the Main Entrance.
- Pharmacy Hours: Monday-Friday 9 a.m.-7:30 p.m. Saturday 9 a.m.-2 p.m. Closed on Sunday
Baptist Health Bardstown Medical Center Pharmacy, 3615 E. John Rowan Blvd., Bardstown, KY 40004.
- Pharmacy Hours: Monday –Friday 8 a.m.-6 p.m. Closed Saturday and Sunday.
Baptist Health hospitals are working to fight the opioid epidemic through the Kentucky Statewide Opioid Stewardship Program, along with other hospitals and the Kentucky Hospital Association. In the program, hospitals are committed to reducing opioid overprescribing and improving safe opioid use.
Baptist Health implements a variety of measures during surgery and post-operatively which are aimed at stemming opioid use:
- Surgeons may use other combinations of drugs for pain relief.
- Patients may listen to music to aid in relaxation.
- Ice therapy is widely used post-operatively.
- Post-surgery patients are provided the minimum days’ supply of narcotic pain medications in conjunction with anti-inflammatory medications to help with pain relief.
Some alternative therapy measures may not be available at all locations. If you are having surgery, talk to your physician about the pain management options available to you.
For more information, visit BaptistHealth.com.
For help with substance abuse:
- In Kentucky, visit www.findhelpnowky.org.
- In Indiana, visit www.in.gov/fssa/addiction.
- For additional resources on substance abuse and mental health services, visit SAMHSA - Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (https://www.samhsa.gov) or call the SAMHSA national help line at 1-800-662-4357.