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Cheyenne First Responders class is at the forefront of fighting Opioid addiction

As the upsurge in opioid use grows, Wyoming health care providers are looking for better ways to treat pain for incoming patients. The Cheyenne Regional...
Published: Apr. 26, 2022 at 9:44 PM CDT
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CHEYENNE, Wyo. (Wyoming News Now) - As the upsurge in opioid use grows, Wyoming health care providers are looking for better ways to treat pain for incoming patients.

The Cheyenne Regional Medical Center has set itself apart in pioneering a new class that helps first responders deal with pain management and addiction.

During the pandemic, opioid use and addictions jumped.

”We’re definitely seeing a lot more fentanyl use within our community and a lot more over-doses so we want to make sure we are combating that problem and we’re not contributing to it as well,” said Angela Vaugh, Community Project Manager- CRMC.

Developed at the height of the pandemic when overdoses were on the rise, this class uses these tools to attempt to mitigate further opioid use.

“Unfortunately this year, we are already seeing a 3-hundred percent increase in overdoses just the beginning of this year. So we’re trying to find a way to what we can do to not add to that problem,” Lt Brice Jacobson, EMS Coordinator, Cheyenne Fire and Rescue.

The “Alternative To Opioids” or ALTO class is the first in the nation to provide a pathway for first responders with alternatives to opioid-based care.

This program also helped the CRMC cut their emergency room opioid use by 10 percent.

”We’re arming their paramedics with and their EMS agents with more tools than ever before, to help safely control pain, and more effectively control pain,” said Donald Stader, Emergency and Addiction Medicine Physician.

The class teaches pain management tools without addicting patients down the line.

Outside of opioid use in extreme cases, alternatives can be as easy as using pain psychology or other NSAIDs for pain.

”How do we communicate compassionately with these patients to actually just require ls pharmacological agents in general. Whether that’s an opioid or not. And that may sound funny coming from a pharmacist because my job is to treat patients with drugs, but all about the non-pharmacological very proven treatment that are again rooted in the science,” said Rachel Duncan, Emergency Room Pharmist.

The in-person training of this class is taking place from April 25th through the 27th, and the new program goes live on May 1st.

By finding alternative ways to manage chronic pain CRMC hopes to keep Wyomingites stronger and healthier for longer.

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