Opioid stewardship

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Novant Health’s response to the opioid epidemic

In 2019, Novant Health diagnosed more than 7,800 people with opioid use disorder, a disease that can cause dependence and addiction to prescription pain killers and other drugs. One thousand and six people, or 12.8%, received care at a Novant Health emergency room last year after overdosing on opioids.

While the opioid epidemic did not happen overnight, Novant Health is committed to making as many needed changes as fast as possible.

Understanding the epidemic

Opioids are the main driver of drug overdose deaths. More than 2 million Americans have an opioid use disorder and each day in the United States, more than 128 people die from an opioid overdose.

Novant Health is diligently and thoroughly doing its part as a healthcare partner in our communities to combat the nationwide problem of opioid misuse and dependency. It is our obligation to address the opioid epidemic head on and provide the care and resources our communities need.

What Novant Health is doing

 Putting people first

Nearly 20 million Americans suffer from substance use disorder, but only one in 10 people receive treatment to support his or her recovery. Because of this, we’re shifting our language to use person-centered or person-first language. We recognize the importance of focusing on patients who suffer from a disease rather than stigmatizing them with labels. Our goal is to help our team members and the public better understand substance use disorder and diminish the stigma associated with this medical condition.

 Providing alternate therapies

Novant Health’s ongoing efforts include a focus on safely and appropriately prescribing opioids for pain management, as well as offering alternative therapies. There are many beneficial treatment approaches that can serve as alternatives to opioids. These approaches include physical therapy with exercises, over-the-counter options, mindfulness-based strategies like yoga and meditation, and therapy.

 Educating our team members

An opioid stewardship steering committee has been formed to develop patient education tools and to educate clinical team members on optimal care for substance use disorder while supporting the expansion of recovery support services.

 Helping the community

All Novant Health community pharmacies are equipped to provide naloxone (a medication designed to rapidly reverse opioid overdose) to patients without a prescription in accordance with standing orders issued by the state in North Carolina and Virginia. Naloxone is often covered by insurance.

Novant Health provides a full continuum of inpatient, outpatient and community-based care that provides a 24/7 response to any level of care needed for substance use. Learn more about our services in Winston-Salem and Charlotte.

Novant Health also has 24/7 drug disposal locations in its communities and participates in drug takeback programs. Novant Health Pharmacy offers collection receptacles year-round at the following locations:

Novant Health Forsyth Medical Center
3333 Silas Creek Pkwy
Winston-Salem, NC 27103

Novant Health Winston-Salem Health Care
250 Charlois Boulevard
Winston-Salem, NC 27103

Novant Health Mountainview Medical
216 Moore Rd.
King, NC 27021

Novant Health Thomasville Medical Center
207 Old Lexington Rd.
Thomasville, NC 27360

Novant Health Rowan Medical Center
612 Mocksville Ave.
Salisbury, NC 28144

Novant Health Presbyterian Medical Center
200 Hawthorne Lane
Charlotte, NC 28204

Words matter

Healthy Headlines

"How one healthcare worker beat opioid dependency"
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"After decades of drug use, she got the treatment she needed"
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"‘I had no idea what to do’"
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"Putting people first"
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"Worried about becoming dependent?"
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"Addressing the opioid epidemic"
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"A fundamental step"
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