The opioid epidemic has touched every corner of America. There were 47,600 deaths involving opioids in 2017 according to the National Institute on Drug Abuse. In this episode of The Healthcare Podcast, Dr. Shane Maxwell and recovering addict Jason Coombs have a far-reaching, candid conversation about the risks, treatment, and challenges facing physicians and patients in our country.
Dr. Maxwell is board-certified in both neurology and pain management. He worked for Saltzer before joining Idaho Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation.
Most people he sees treat their pain with over-the-counter anti-inflammatories and then advances
to muscle relaxants and medications for nerve pain. Some try acupuncture, massage therapists and other treatments. Dr. Maxwell says many of his patients come to him after receiving narcotics from other providers.
He would prefer, however, to see patients before they are already using narcotics so he can identify the risks of abuse and addiction and gather personal history medications and alcohol use, incarceration, family history, psychiatric history of depression and anxiety.
When patients show up in our clinic who have been using narcotics for years, it is difficult to “unwind,” Dr. Maxwell says. He can request records and review a history of patients’ medications but HIPAA restrictions prevent him from calling patients. Rarely do patients admit that they are addicted. Physicians can’t force patients to seek support services.
Jason Coombs has personal experience with the dangers of opioids. A car accident led him to narcotics and the discovery that opioids helped him feel euphoric.
An inspirational speaker and author, he owns the Brickhouse Recovery treatment center in Meridian. Coombs would like to educate families about chemical dependency and help strip away the stigma of addiction.
While resources have been scarce to treat addictions, Coombs and Dr. Maxwell agree that more dialogue has raised awareness. A next step is to develop policies that help people build trust, rapport, and knowledge.
More info here: SaltzerHealth.com
Full Podcast here: https://bit.ly/2WIot3j