Mayo Clinic Health System and PBS documentary addresses opioid epidemic

Mayo Clinic Health System and PBS's documentary "The Opioid Fix" aims to educate the public on the ongoing epidemic - both in our state and nationwide.
Updated: Jan. 29, 2020 at 8:50 PM CST
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MANKATO, Minn. (KEYC) — Mayo Clinic Health System partnered with PBS to produce a documentary on the ongoing opioid epidemic and screened the film at Minnesota State University, Mankato Wednesday.

According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), more than 70,000 people died due to opioid overdose in 2017, with 422 of those deaths being Minnesotans.

Mayo Clinic Health System and PBS’s documentary “The Opioid Fix” aims to educate the public on the ongoing epidemic - both in our state and nationwide.

“It is a necessary topic that we have to address, and the resources through public television is a chance to reach everybody within our region and try and identify that those patients, those people, those family members are at risk and there are ways to help,” says Dr. Jason Dauffenbach of the Department of Pain Medicine at Mayo Clinic Health System.

Most prescription opioid misusers were once or are prescribed the medicine through medical professionals.

“If we continue to ignore or don’t address this, and tackle this problem head on, we’re only going to continue to see problems get worse. We’re going to lose family members and we’re going to lose patients. Not just lose them to chronic pain, but also lose them to opioid overdose,” says Dauffenbach.

Sometimes the root of substance abuse and addiction lies deeper, and the issue isn't just at the surface.

“Substance abuse is a diagnosis - it’s a condition. It is something we need to address, we need to identify in patients and our family members, and recognize that when patients’ family members have trouble that there are signs,” says Dauffenbach.

The documentary acknowledges that substance abuse and addiction are complex issues... and that making active steps to prevent opioid abuse, and also try to understand how the issue manifested, is the best method to combat the epidemic.

“If we listen to that, and why they lost their life, why that life is different, that we can intervene through a number of methods. Whether it be through medical therapy, whether it’s counseling, pain rehabilitation programs, that those are the best tools we have to help them," says Dauffenbach.

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