Forum: Disparity in Treatment of Persons With Opioid Addiction

Dr. Brown

A recent forum held in Worcester examined all the ways people facing addiction to opioids were treated differently than others at health care facilities and other societal institutions. Examples of the uneven treatment included workers being terminated from work after being discovered taking medication to address their addiction, even though employers routinely make reasonable accommodations for other workers with physical disabilities. Alan Brown, MD, vice chair, integrated care and population health, presented at the forum and noted hospitals are making strides and get better on this issue. Read about the forum and what Dr. Brown had to say in the Telegram & Gazette.



Teens Share Stories of Substance Use at Town Hall Program

Students from Rockdale Recovery High School shared their stories at the adolescent substance use town hall program. (Photo courtesy of MassLive)

According to the Massachusetts Department of Public Health and the Registry of Vital Records and Statistics, opioids accounted for more than a quarter of all fatalities in the state among people in the 18 to 24 age group from 2013 to 2014. To help shine a light on this worrisome epidemic, Margret Chang, MD, and Sadfar Medina, MD, pediatricians at Tri-River Family Health Center, recently coordinated a free town hall program that focused on the impacts of opiates and substance use on adolescents. During the eye-opening event, six teens from Rockdale Recovery High School shared their stories of addiction and road to recovery. “If I were to be completely honest, I feel like this school saved me,” said one student. Read the MassLive story.

Simply Well: How to Talk to Your Teen About Opioid Drugs

Many parents don’t believe their teenager would ever misuse opioids. But as someone who works with youth in recovery, Stephanie Manzi, LMHC, program director of Motivating Youth Recovery, shares that opioid misuse can and does happen — even in the “best” of families. Motivating Youth Recovery is a 24-bed acute detoxification and stabilization program located at Community Healthlink in Worcester for adolescents 13 to 17 years old. Learn how to talk to your teen about opioid misuse in Stephanie’s Simply Well blog post. Simply Well, a community wellness blog, is produced by the Marketing and Communications Department.


Electronic System to Make Opioid Prescriptions More Secure

Our health care system will launch a new electronic prescription software system to tighten security on the prescription of opioids, reduce fraud, doctor shopping and other behaviors that contribute to the abuse of pain medications. The Imprivata security and identity platform will provide more secure prescription of opioids and improve authentication and access workflows. By keeping more accurate medical records, prescribing and controlling these substances will be easier. “The goal is … to improve the efficiency of the process for our patients and our providers,” said Eric Alper, MD, vice president and chief clinical informatics officer. “Right now, the current state on paper, it’s very onerous.” Read Telegram & Gazette and Worcester Business Journal.

How We Offer Multiple Alternatives for Pain Management

Caption: Dr. Stephen Earls, medical director at Barre Family Health Center with, at bottom, Karyn George, RN, and (not visible Kyleen Roman, MA) during their daily huddle. (Telegram & Gazette photo)

Caption: Dr. Stephen Earls, medical director at Barre Family Health Center with, at bottom, Karyn George, RN, and (not visible Kyleen Roman, MA) during their daily huddle. (Telegram & Gazette photo)

Stephen Earls, MD, medical director of Barre Family Health Center, and M. Richard Pavao, MD, an anesthesiologist with our Medical Center Pain Clinic, were featured in a Telegram & Gazette story about chronic pain treatment and opioid use. Both discussed the difficulty physicians can face in balancing pain management for their patients with the risks of addiction. Barre Family Health Center offers a range of methods for managing pain, including alternative medical therapies, exercise and nutrition.