In 2018, DuPage County reported 98 opioid-related deaths, a number that held relatively steady over a three-year period.
ALTO Computer Software
Edward-Elmhurst Health has introduced several new initiatives to combat the epidemic, including the ALTO (Alternative to Opioid) computer software, which is designed to help physicians prescribe appropriate medication.
“So we’re going to see non-opiate medicines listed first,” said Tom Scaletta, M.D., medical director of emergency services at Edward Hospital. “And the physician still has the autonomy to pick what he or she thinks are the best ones and they’re usually very effective.”
ALTO should help doctors be smarter about who they prescribe opioids to – something Dr. Scaletta said wasn’t always the case.
“I would say that physicians have been part of the problem in the past, writing liberally for opiate medicines and writing large quantities,” said Dr. Scaletta.
Safe Opioid Disposal
For those patients who are prescribed opioids, Edward-Elmhurst is providing them with multiple options for disposal of unused meds.
“We have a lock box that people can put the medicines in and then discard them,” said Dr. Scaletta. “We also have a way to denature the medicines, rendering them ineffective and that has activated charcoal, we put water in, and it deactivates those medicines.”
Treatment at Linden Oaks
To help patients with cravings and other symptoms, Dr. Aaron Weiner at Linden Oaks Behavioral Health said they take a bio- psycho- social- approach to opioid addiction treatment.
“The biological side like cravings, the psychological side in terms of coping with problems in a different way and dealing with triggers for use and then the social side in terms of helping bring healthy people around them and putting some boundaries up between them and unhealthy people in their life,” said Dr. Weiner.
Doing their part to help prevent more opioid abusers at every step of addiction.
“We think it’s important to be a leader in the community in terms of bringing this problem to as much of a resolution as we can,” said Dr. Weiner.
Naperville News 17’s Casey Krajewski reports.
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