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Practice Tip of the Week: Reducing Prescription Drug Misuse in Texas

Friday, February 24, 2017   (1 Comments)
Posted by: Nadia Tamez-Robledo
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By Ellen Martin, PhD, RN, CPHQ

Director of Practice

Texas Nurses Association


The most recent report on drug and opioid-involved overdose deaths appeared in the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report on December 30, 2016.  The CDC noted that drug overdose deaths have increased by 11.4% from 2014 and 2015 and have nearly tripled since 1999.  Data by state indicates that West Virginia, New Hampshire, and Kentucky have the highest age-adjusted rates of drug overdose deaths. Even though Texas is among the states with the lowest death rates, drug overdose deaths have increased by 80% between 1999 and 2014. In looking at only opioid-related deaths in 2014 there were 2,601 deaths, an average of 7 deaths per day.


To address this growing public health problem, the Texas Health and Human Services Commission convened the Texas Prescription Drug Misuse Prevention Summit in Austin February 2-3, 2017.  Almost 200 individuals representing a variety of stakeholder groups were invited to give input on a statewide strategic plan to address prescription drug misuse in Texas. Panels of experts spoke on the scope of the problem in Texas, demographics on special populations at highest risk for prescription drug misuse, safe disposal of unused prescription drugs, and the future of the prescription drug monitoring program in Texas. Last year, responsibility for administering the Texas Prescription Drug Monitoring Program  transitioned from the Department of Public Safety to the Texas Board of Pharmacy. Some facts shared by panelists include:


  • Four of the top 25 cities in the US for opioid misuse are in Texas
  • Texas has the second highest healthcare cost from opioid misuse in the US at $1.96 billion
  • One third of persons misusing prescription drugs are aged 12 to 17
  • Sexual minority adults were more likely to use illicit drugs in the past year (39.1%) compared to sexual majority adults (17.1%).


The agenda and handouts from the summit are available on the Summit webpage. When completed, a copy of the statewide strategic plan will be posted on the in March. Throughout 2017, HHSC will have regional meetings. Proposed locations include:  Abilene, Arlington, Ector/Midland County, El Paso, Hidalgo County/Cameron County, Houston, Longview, Lubbock, Lufkin, San Antonio, Waco/Temple. Nurses interested in getting updates as plans are finalized can complete an interest form online.  To suggest ideas on who should attend the regional meetings or locations to hold the regional meetings please download the flyer here.  


Nurses play an important role in identifying patterns of prescription drug misuse.


Resources for Nurses: 


Shirley M. Morrison says...
Posted Wednesday, March 1, 2017
TNA District 9 is planning a Professional Conference in Houston on June 8 on the problem of Opioid use and abuse, Nusring Implications. Shirley M. Morrison Phd, RN, District 9 planning committee.

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