I have had the privilege of being part of the ASA Monitor Editorial Board for a few years, and one article that has touched my heart is the wrenching story of Dr. Bonnie Milas and her efforts in collaboration with the ASA Committee on Trauma and Emergency Preparedness to improve society (ASA Monitor 2020;84:1-8). Even though the article is nearly two years old, its message is unfortunately even more relevant today and resonates with a wider audience of affected family members.
The authors of this article, Drs. Bonnie Milas, Albert Varon, and Arman Dagal, highlight the opioid crisis that is consuming our country and suggest measures to combat it. A startling fact they introduce is that the risk of dying from an opioid overdose is higher than of dying from a car crash. They discuss strategies developed by the government and various organizations to combat this raging epidemic at its roots, including improved federal allocation of funds and ASA's Safer Postoperative Pain Management: Reducing Opioid-Related Harm Pilot, which specifically focused on reducing opioid use in the inpatient setting. Another landmark project was the National Rx Drug Abuse & Heroin Summit in Atlanta, which involved federal and state agencies, payers, patient advocates, and health care professionals aiming to involve people at every step of the ladder who can help fight this plague.
ASA also created the REVIVEme initiative that anyone can and should join to help bring about change (asamonitor.pub/3A7ojnB)! Program highlights include:
Development of strategies and tactics for multidisciplinary teams in the innovation and implementation of efficient and effective (patient, care delivery, work, and information) opioid use reduction and liberalization of naloxone use.
Guidance and education for public and health care providers on implementation processes and resources; ensuring that work intersects with other national and regional initiatives.
Education for the public and professionals in the identification of opioid overdose and the use of opioid reversal agents as a lifesaving measure.
Why it matters
Dr. Milas is an anesthesiologist who had rescued her opioid-overdosing sons on multiple occasions, only to tragically lose both of them to the epidemic. She has made it her life's mission to spread the word about the REVIVEme program to help anyone in the public gain access to naloxone and easily administer it to save a life. U.S. Surgeon General Vice Admiral Vivek Murthy, MD, MBA, has sent a standing prescription for naloxone to any pharmacy in the country. If you want to know how to get a box for free and save a life today, visit the NEXT Distro website (asamonitor.pub/3g0LSaP). Pass on the message to everyone in your workplace and your friends and family. It may be your word that ends up saving a life – and a family!