Understanding the Opioid Epidemic

opioidEven though overdose deaths linked to prescription opioids have more than quadrupled since 1999, many people do not really understand what opioids are. To clarify, opioids are a class of drugs including heroin and prescription narcotics such as hydrocodone, oxycodone, codeine, morphine and other chemically related drugs.

These drugs, often prescribed because of a medical condition, cause a stimulus in the brain that helps individuals cope with anxiety, depression and other life-altering events. While they are usually fine when taken as prescribed for a short time, they are too often misused or taken without a prescription because they produce euphoria in addition to relieving pain. Prolonged use can lead to dependence and misuse can lead to overdose and death.

Signs of Addiction to Look For
Patients can range in age from pre-teen to elderly and from all walks of life. While each case is different, some common signs of potential misuse or abuse among young people include: a loss of interest in usual activities, changes in appearance, a lack of concern for grooming and hygiene and changes in eating and sleeping habits. Withdrawal symptoms that can occur after stopping or reducing use include negative mood, nausea or vomiting, muscle ache, diarrhea, fever and insomnia.

Many hospitals, municipalities and public entities offer awareness forums or support groups for those dealing with substance abuse. The Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) and Discovery Education have published an online Parent Toolkit, available at operationprevention.com.


Safe Disposal of Unused Medications

pills with bottleIf you’ve stopped taking a prescription, you’ve probably forgotten about it. This can cause a problem when unused or outdated medications just sit around. Disposing of medications can be safe and convenient, especially since guidelines were established by the Controlled Substance Act of 2014. While regulations can vary from state to state, here are five safe ways you can dispose of your leftover medications.

Medication Take Back Programs. These take back programs have been run by the Drug Enforcement Administration for 15 years and have been effective. Local events are often held on a quarterly basis, while the DEA hosts an annual National Drug Take Back Day.

Police & Pharmacy Drop Offs. Pharmacies throughout the country have been adding medication disposal boxes to their stores. If you can’t make it to a pharmacy during store hours, police stations are a 24/7 option. Before you drop off the medication, use a permanent marker to cover your personal details, but leave the medication information visible in case the contents need to be identified.

Submit Them for Incineration. If your pharmacy does not have a drop-off box, ask if they can help you send your medications off to be incinerated. The pharmacy will provide you with an envelope, which you can safely ship to the destruction site.

Destroying Your Medications. If you choose to throw away your medication with your regular trash, there are ways to prevent harmful medications from getting into the wrong hands. Pour liquid into the bottle to destroy the meds or make them impossible to take by pouring kitty litter or coffee grounds into the bottle. While not the case for every medication, flushing the medication down the toilet is the safer option. The eco-toxicological impact is negligible, and the risk of misuse is too high to just keep them around.


Give Your Employees the Opportunity to Save Money on Prescriptions with EBSO’s HealthiestYou

ebso-healthiestyou-post3Your average plan member may not always be a savvy healthcare consumer. Not only can health insurance be confusing, it can also be a bit of a mystery to some, especially when it comes to the cost of prescriptions. Sometimes it’s not until they are standing in their local pharmacy that what they owe is revealed to them. And, at that point if they don’t know any better, they’ll pay just about anything to help themselves, or their loved ones, feel better quickly.

With HealthiestYou, EBSO offers employer clients the opportunity to offer knowledge and cost savings to their plan members, all with a simple desktop or mobile app. Employees can use the app to compare the cost of medical procedures or services as well as prescription costs at pharmacies located right around them. Sometimes drug costs can differ greatly from store to store, and the app is so smart that it can detect when the user is in a pharmacy and can send them an alert letting them know they might be able to save money elsewhere.

HealthiestYou does this with a comparison shopping engine that compares pricing for more than 5,000 prescription drugs at more than 100,000 pharmacies. And, the app is always active and ready to send the user information and help them save money when possible. So, not only are prescription drug costs no longer a mystery, shopping for them actually becomes easier – and when healthcare is made easier, everyone is happy!

Besides medication savings, HealthiestYou offers plan members a number of consumer-empowering tools including, but not limited to, physician access and wellness coaching. All of which can help plan members and organizations save time, money and hassle.

To learn more about all that HealthiestYou has to offer, visit our website and watch the brief, free video!