Local conference examines opioid addiction issues - KRISTV.com | Continuous News Coverage | Corpus Christi

Local conference examines opioid addiction issues

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Opioid addiction is spreading across the country, all the way down to South Texas.

“We believe there is a crisis right now in America that includes Texas and South Texas,” said Dr. Wilson Velazquez.  “We want to educate regarding this problem.”

Battling the opioid crisis is why nearly 150 health professionals from all over the coastal bend, and across the state are in Corpus Christi or the first ever local Opioid and Pain Management Conference.

“Right now in this nation more than 90 people die every day from opioid use and overdose,” said Velazquez, the conference’s director.  “We need to create a conscience about the proper use of opioids, and that's what we're trying to accomplish this weekend.”

The purpose of the two day conference is to educate medical professionals on the safe way to prescribe opioids.

“The safe way meaning the amount of pills per month; quantities, milligrams, doses and to do the proper follow up with the patient in terms of making the therapy safe,” said Velazquez.

Organizers say one particular segment of the population is at a greater risk.

“The epidemic has impacted people of all ages, but we're particularly concerned how it impacts older adults,” said Dr. Marcia Ory, Director of Texas A&M’s Center for Population Health and Aging.

According to Ory, older people are at risk because they often suffer from chronic pain.

Organizers believe by finding ways to manage pain without opioids, fewer patients, of all ages, will fall victim to addiction.

“If we can help at least one person at this conference, one patient that will be safe from dying or having serious complications, then we know we accomplished something,” said Velazquez.

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