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Opioid Dangers Present In America’s Nursing Homes

nursing home drug dangers

Elder Justice Coalition Links Nursing Home Abuse and Opioid Abuse

With an opioid epidemic in our country that is beyond alerting, it remains evident that the 2017 guidelines The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) set forth for managing chronic pain with caution against opioid use are not being followed. The CDC continues to warn that the benefits for improving pain and function through dangerous opioids must outweigh the risks when prescribing and administering the drugs. One group of Americans persistently impacted by the mismanagement of opioids is the nursing home population.

The nonpartisan Elder Justice Coalition (EJC) recently met with the Department of Health and Human Services’ (HHS) Assistant Secretary for Health and Senior Advisor for Opioid Policy, Admiral Brett Giroir in response to the opioid crisis. Assistant Secretary for Aging and Administrator of the Administration for Community Living (ACL), Lance Robertson and leadership of the National Adult Protective Services Association (NAPSA) were also present. EJC National Coordinator Bob Blancato released this statement recapping the meeting in a January 23, 2019 EJC press release.

“We pointed to work we had done with the Virginia Tech Center on Gerontology. This research, conducted with officials in four states, revealed double-digit increases in reported elder abuse and exploitation cases tied to misuse of opioids by either family members, caregivers or total strangers. We indicated that this research is likely just the tip of the iceberg.”

Opioid drugs are commonly prescribed by physicians for nursing home residents with moderate to severe pain and those in serious, life-threatening illness. These opioid analgesics can include:

  • Codeine (only available in generic form)
  • Fentanyl (Abstral, Actiq, Duragesic, Fentora, Onsolis)
  • Hydrocodone (Hysingla ER, Zohydro ER)
  • Hydrocodone/Acetaminophen (Lorcet, Lortab, Norco, Vicodin)
  • Hydromorphone (Dilaudid, Exalgo)
  • Meperidine (Demerol)
  • Methadone (Dolophine, Methadose)
  • Morphine (Kadian, MS Contin, Morphabond)
  • Oxycodone (Oxaydo, OxyContin)
  • Oxycodone and Acetaminophen (Percocet, Roxicet)
  • Oxycodone and Naloxone

The mismanagment of an opioid medication may be a form of nursing home abuse. It can be difficult for relatives to know whether their loved one is on the proper type and amount of medication, whether it is being used as a sedative, or if staff is stealing resident medications. If you think that your loved one may be the victim of nursing home abuse caused by the mishandling of a prescribed opioid, contact the compassionate attorneys at Levin & Perconti to discuss the situation as soon as possible.

Talk with a Levin & Perconti Nursing Home Abuse & Neglect Attorney

For nearly 30 years our attorneys have focused on seeking justice for those who have been abused or neglected in nursing homes in the Chicago-area, as well as throughout the state of Illinois. Our extensive experience fighting nursing homes has given us the advantage of knowing how they operate, and successfully settle or litigate your case. We have handled numerous cases in which nursing home patients have been injured or killed because of medication errors and opioid abuse.

If you suspect dangerous prescription drugs are being misused in your loved one’s nursing home, contact Levin & Perconti now for a FREE consultation with one of our attorneys. Call toll-free at 1-877-374-1417, in Chicago at (312) 332-2872, or complete our online case evaluation form.

Read: Common Nursing Home Medication Errors