BIRMINGHAM, AL (WBRC) - Combating an opioid epidemic while at the same time treating a patient's pain issues, a conference at Samford University tackled the ever growing problem which has caused deaths across the country.
Andrea Collins is a nurse practitioner who teaches nursing at Samford University. Her family has been touched by opioid abuse.
"My father was actually addicted to prescription drugs which began after multiple knee surgeries in the 60's," Collins said.
The conference at Samford tried to balance patients with pain versus addiction.
"Judicially use multiple therapies which may or may not include opioids. Then, the opioid epidemic could be addressed in a better manner than just stopping, cessation of writing opioids totally," Collins said.
Dr. David Jurlink of Toronto told the crowd there should be some changes in helping patients with pain.
"Approach our treatment of pain differently. Use opioids but use them differently than we historically have. Also approach addiction differently. Treat it a public health problem as opposed to a criminal or moral failing," Jurlink said.
The medical community believes they are in the best position to decide what is best for their patient and it doesn't believe others such as lawmakers should be deciding on limitations of opioid use.
"Issue edicts or pass laws doctors must drop patients to lower doses that is inviting disaster. People will develop withdrawals and do what they have to deal with withdrawals including going to the street," Jurlink said.