Almost One-Third of Hospices Report Cases of Stolen Patient Painkillers

elderly man in hospital bed

A new study finds almost one-third of hospices have reported at least one case in which painkillers were taken from a patient in the past three months. The drugs were most often taken by family members, HealthDay reports.

“Where medications are being taken from patients, those patients are probably suffering,” said lead researcher John Cagle of the University of Maryland in Baltimore. The findings come from a survey of 371 hospices. The results are published in JAMA.

The survey found hospice painkillers were most often taken by the main family caregiver (39%) or another relative (38%).

“The findings from this analysis highlight the need for a more comprehensive approach to opioid use disorder, and the need for prevention and treatment to be integrated into all aspects of health care, including hospices, nursing homes, hospitals and other medical facilities,” Linda Richter, Director of Policy Research and Analysis at the Center on Addiction, told HealthDay.

Heroin & the Opioid Epidemic: From Understanding to Action

Heroin and other opioids are ravaging communities across America. Heroin-related deaths increased by more than five times between 2010 and 2017, and drug deaths from fentanyl and other synthetic opioids are seeing a sharp rise as well.

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