Interdisciplinary Roundtable Seeks to Address Opioid Challenges

Nov. 1, 2018, 4:20 p.m. ·

Participants in the USDA Rural Development Roundtable. (Photo by Allison Mollenkamp, NET News)

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USDA Rural Development brought law enforcement, healthcare providers, and government officials together to discuss the opioid crisis.

USDA Rural Development hosted a roundtable Tuesday in Lincoln to discuss opioid misuse in Nebraska.

The opioid roundtable brought together stakeholders including law enforcement, healthcare providers, and government officials. Their conversation was framed by the personal experience of Leo Allison, who recovered from an opioid addiction and subsequently founded the IGOTSOBER Alcoholic and Opioid Recovery Center in Omaha.

Allison says his recovery was made possible by peer support from another recovered person.

“When that connection is made from somebody that you’re looking across the table to that has been exactly where you are, and now is where you want to be, there’s a hope that strikes that is really indescribable,” said Allison

Tyler Kranke is with the Alabama State Patrol. He spoke about the importance of stopping the flow of opioids into Nebraska communities, including through the use of fake prescriptions.

“You can order the paper online, and also long as they have a doctor’s DA number, they can forge a scrip in order to write it for whatever they want. They prey on homeless people, take them to the pharmacies, have them fill the scrips,” Kranke said.

Kranke encouraged a change to electronic prescriptions. The Legislature’s Health and Human Services committee is studying this option, but rural communities might not have the technology ready.

Health providers spoke about using the Nebraska Prescription Drug Monitoring System to prevent patients from being prescribed opiates at multiple hospitals for one injury. The group also discussed partnering with other states to share access to drug monitoring systems across state lines.