TOPEKA, Kan. (KSNT) – Medical and law enforcement professionals attended an opioid conference at the Topeka Capitol Plaza Hotel Thursday.
According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, more than 60,000 people in the U.S. died from drug overdoses last year. Many of those deaths resulted from opioid overdoses.
Dr. Kim Templeton, a professor at the University of Kansas Medical Center, was a keynote speaker at the conference. She explained how the U.S. opioid epidemic began.
“Third parties were judging healthcare, and health institutions quality based on the level of pain control, that’s kind of where we went into the number of opioids that are currently being prescribed,” Dr. Temple said.
She said health care professionals should consider prescribing non-drug pain management methods to patients when possible.
“Opioids for some people may have a role for a brief period of time, but there needs to be more recognition that there are other ways in which you can treat pain,” she said.
Dr. Templeton said the national opioid problem is taking root in Kansas.
“Kansas isn’t one of the crisis states. I would say were not one of the crisis states yet, but we’re really close,” she said.
Dr. Templeton said nearby states like Oklahoma and Arkansas have high numbers of opioid prescriptions per 100 people.