Opioids are the most common cause of fatal poisonings in young children, according to research presented earlier this month at the American Academy of Pediatrics National Conference. This isn’t news to Sana Minhas, senior project manager in the Department of Pharmacy at Ann & Robert H. Lurie Children’s Hospital of Chicago. She has long been an advocate for the importance of education and community outreach to prevent overdose and accidental poisonings, not only for the hospital’s pediatric patients but for their parents and the Chicagoland community.
Education and prevention are a first line of defense in preventing opioid misuse that can lead to accidental poisonings, overdose and addiction. To reach patient families and the community, Minhas and the team at Lurie Children’s regularly host education events to create an awareness of the dangers of opioids and offer lifesaving solutions. The hospital has taken a multi-pronged approach: keeping medications out of the wrong hands by encouraging disposal of unused medications through education and providing DisposeRx packets; preventing overdose by providing fentanyl test strips; and reversing overdoses by distributing NARCAN – a medicine that rapidly reverses an opioid overdose and can be used in an emergency.
To encourage prompt disposal of medications, each participant receives a DisposeRx packet. When the DisposeRx powder is added to a prescription vial with leftover medication and water, then shaken, the active ingredient is rendered unavailable and unusable.
These packets are a simple and convenient solution to be used at home with pills, tablets, capsules, liquids and powders, allowing them to be safely thrown away in the household trash.
Held monthly, the next Lurie Children’s Hospital community training is Thursday, October 27 located at the main hospital at 225 E Chicago Avenue, on the 11 th floor of the hospital. October is a busy month, as the hospital is participating in both National Substance Abuse Prevention Month and DEA National Prescription Drug Take Back Day.
We commend Lurie Children’s for their efforts to educate their patients and the broader community in hopes of mitigating the growing overdose epidemic. And we are proud to support them as a DisposeRx Community Outreach program partner.