Beaumont hosts drug take-back, free chronic pain panel events

Health system hopes to help doctors, patients and the public fight opioid crisis

By Sarah Mayberry, M.P.H. - Producer

DETROIT - Beaumont Health is trying to make it easier for doctors, patients and the public to help fight the opioid crisis with two upcoming events.

"Addiction happens very, very quickly. So using these pills for one, two, three days can cause addiction that can last years," said Dr. Roy Soto, a Beaumont anesthesiologist and president of the Michigan Society of Anesthesiologists.

Soto doesn't mince words when it comes to the potential risk of opioids.

"It's similar to keeping an armed weapon in the reach of your children," said Soto. "I think these are deadly medications, they're addictive medications."

Avoiding that initial exposure is key.

"If you talk to addicts opioid addicts, a large percentage of them say, their first exposure to those medications were found in their families medicine cabinets," said Soto. "We know that realtors are concerned about that during open houses that people go through and look for narcotics in medicine cabinets. People don't really know what to do with those medicines. They keep them just in case, but if they want to get rid of them, they don't know what the right thing to do is."

On Friday, April 26, seven Beaumont hospitals will host a drug take-back event from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.  All locations will accept pills. Four locations will also accept medical sharps. Click here for locations.

"Not only do we take opioids, but we take leftover muscle relaxants and Valium and any other medications that people don't want to keep around their house," said Soto.

Disposing of leftover drugs properly is critical. But what about patients who are still in pain? Beaumont wants to address that issue too.

"We have a free community event, and it's really to educate people about a non-opioid approach to managing pain," said Dr. Kenneth Peters, chair of urology at Beaumont Hospital in Royal Oak.

The interactive panel discussion entitled "Better Living Through Electricity: A Non-Opioid Approach To Chronic Pain" is Tuesday, April 30th from 6:00pm to 8:00 pm at the Beaumont Hospital, Royal Oak Administration Building. Click here for full details.

The event is geared toward people with chronic pain, including back, leg, arm or pelvic pain, failed knee surgery or peripheral neuropathy.

Peters is one of the many panelists. 

"What we're really highlighting at this is something called neuromodulation or stimulating nerves," said Peters. "There's different types of electrodes that we can put at the nerves that would override pain signals."

They'll also discuss a broad range of approaches to pain..

"We have physical therapy, we have pain psychology, we have integrative medicine talking about acupuncture and other things like that," said Peters.

The message to patients? Don't give up.

"There's always hope," said Peters. "There's always something else that we can do and even if we can't find something right now, we're always doing research trying to find, you know, new technologies, new treatments that can really improve quality of life."

The panel is free. Light refreshments will be served, and spouses or a companion are welcome. If you plan to attend, Beaumont would like for you to register, so that planners know how many people to expect. To register, click here or call 800-633-7377.

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