North Texas Experts: Overdose Reversal Drugs, Prescription Monitoring Could Help in Fight Against Opioid Epidemic

Wider utilization of overdose reversal drugs could go a long way in reducing the impact of the opioid epidemic, North Texas experts say.

So could responsible prescribing and more use of the state’s prescription monitoring program, which collects and monitors data related to Schedule II, III, IV, and V controlled substances.

“Responsible prescribing is one of the cornerstones of addressing the issue,” said Glenn Hardesty, an emergency medicine physician with Texas Health Resources and opioid expert. He said that changes in the approach to prescribing opiates have already curbed access to the legally obtained drugs. He added that building the prescription monitoring program and prescribing guidelines into electronic health records could further make an impact.

“We need to find that balance where, hey, we pushed out all these drugs to treat the pain, but realizing that maybe it’s not always physical pain that we’re treating,” Hardesty said.

Those thoughts were a part of the latest health care forum from the TCU Neeley School of Business and TCU & UNT Health Science Center School of Medicine last week. A trio of experts graced the stage for “The Opioid Crisis: Getting to the Bottom Line – Economic and Personal Costs for North Texas”: Hardesty; Dr. Carol Nati, medical director at MHMR of Tarrant County; and Dr. Charles Taylor, dean of the UNT College of Pharmacy.

The panelists also spent time discussing the up side to the overdose reversal drug Narcan, which—as evidenced by an on-stage demonstration by Nati—is extremely easy to administer. Increasing access to it, not just for emergency personnel but for patients and family members, could reduce the number of overdose deaths, panelists said.