Long Island Opiate Overdose "Epidemic" Adds Urgency to Upcoming Medication Safety Symposium

Long Island drug abuse highlights medication safety issues to be discussed at expert forum.

​ The Nassau and Suffolk county police forces announced recently that they are forming a joint “overdose task force” due to a surge of heroin overdoses on Long Island.  This highlights a wider issue — misuse of medications — that will be addressed at a Symposium — “Medication Safety: It Starts Before the Prescription”  organized by patient safety advocacy group PULSE of NY, to be held in Plainview, NY on April 18, 2016.

While heroin accounted for most if not all of the 161 fatal overdoses and nearly 1000 overdose incidents involving police in the two counties last year, according to PULSE of NY President Ilene Corina the problem doesn’t start there. “There has been a surge in abuse of prescription painkillers such as Oxycontin,” she says. “On the street, one of these painkillers can cost about 10 times more than heroin. So individuals sell the prescription drugs and use the profit to by heroin.”

"Misuse and abuse of prescription drugs, though sensational, is just the tip of the iceberg."

Ilene Corina, President, PULSE of NY

Such misuse and abuse of prescription drugs, though sensational, is just the tip of the iceberg, says Corina. Medications of many kinds are routinely overprescribed and often incorrectly used, leading not only to drug dependency but to a raft of other adverse medical effects. Health News, for example, reports that an American child experiences a medication error every eight minutes. 

For years PULSE of NY has encouraged the use of a DMM or Designated Medication Manager, a friend or family member as a support person when someone is prescribed a new medication.  In PULSE’s educational programs and advocacy training classes Corina stresses how important it is that the patient understands the prescription before it is written, and enlists family support such as a DMM. 

These are among the topics that will be discussed by experts such as Michael Cohen, President Institute for Safe Medication Practices (ISMP), who will be the keynote speaker at the Medication Safety seminar.

All stakeholders in the effort to improve the quality of safe medication practice and patient care are invited to attend the event.

The details:

When: April 18, 2016. 5:00 pm (hot buffet dinner and networking. Program starts at 6:00pm.)

Where: Holiday Inn, 215 Sunnyside Blvd, Plainview, NY 11803    

Cost: $50 until March 20, $65 thereafter. (Student and group discounts available.)

Register here.

There are still opportunities to sponsor part of the event. More info at Sponsorship.

You can add your voice to the Symposium, too. Do you have a personal story involving medication error? Please submit it here.  Selected stories will be presented in the conference literature.

About Pulse Center for Patient Safety Education & Advocacy (formerly PULSE OF NY)

Pulse Center for Patient Safety Education & Advocacy (formerly PULSE of New York) is a grassroots, nonprofit, 501(c)3 organization working to improve patient safety through advocacy education and support services.

Pulse Center for Patient Safety Education & Advocacy (formerly PULSE OF NY)
PO Box 353
Wantagh, NY


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