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Task Force at Texas A & M to fight the opioid epidemic

COLLEGE STATION, Tex. (KBTX) – In response to the government's decision to declare a public health emergency, the Texas A & M University Health Science Center established a multi-disciplinary opiate task force.

The Group Includes Dentistry Representatives (19659004) "What we do realize is that we all need to work together because it is a complex problem and each of us has something to offer in our field," said Marcia Ory, the chairman Task Force

Statistics show that 42,249 people died of an overdose in 201

6. In Texas alone, there were 1,200.

"It's even in the Brazos Valley, no matter where they live. Sure, the problem is more common in rural areas, but unfortunately it's everywhere in the nation and Texas now," said Ory.

Ory says at least half of people have opioid prescriptions that are legal. The Task Force is working on continuing education and looking at how they will receive the amount they have committed.

"It really helps people to understand pain management and alternatives to pain management," she said.

The task force hopes to reduce the negative impact of the epidemic.

"What could have even worse consequences – we know how many people have died and how many people had opioid use disorders in 2016. The number could increase dramatically, or with the task force we could help maintain the level and hopefully decrease, "said Ory.

Two studies by Taskforce members have also been selected for funding by the President's Excellence Fund. The first will examine the effects of the opioid epidemic on older adults. The second study attempts to develop a technology for the detection of withdrawal symptoms.

At the national level, the American Dental Association has published a new policy stating that it now sets limits for seven days for dental opioids. These limits were not accepted by the American Medical Association, which has so far resisted the restrictions on opioid prescribing.

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