In a 1/4/16 Anesthesiology News article, Dr. Myron Yaster described the overprescribing of opioids to pediatric patients as “an epidemic… [that] may ultimately contribute to the growing problem of nonmedical use of prescription opioids, particularly in the young.” Parents of children who have overdosed on prescription opiates—often left over from a sibling’s prescription—have advocated for policy makers to make the prevention of such tragedies a top priority. Despite everyone’s best efforts, rates of youth addiction have continued to increase.
This project will engage and empower stakeholders with a novel approach in building new partnerships to explore challenges related to pain management in youth and among those at risk of addiction. Partners will be organized to enhance our understanding of youth pain management challenges including accessing treatment, coordinating care, preventing medication misuse, and navigating privacy regulations. Our first task will be to cultivate a core team of stakeholders, including individuals in recovery from substance use disorders, family members, policy makers, researchers, clinicians, and administrators. Developing a communications plan and outreach strategy to support this project will be a concurrent initial focus. Over the course of the project, we will meet in person and virtually with stakeholders to generate ideas.
In summary, by engaging community partners and creating an infrastructure for continuing collaboration, we aim to inform the development of a patient-centered comparative effectiveness research question focusing on the improvement of doctor-patient/parent communication, care coordination, management of children’s pain and methods for disposing of leftover medication.