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Update 2022: Pain Management for the Michigan Correctional Nurse

According to the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (2022), Michigan has a serious problem with prescription drug misuse, most notably, opioids and benzodiazepines.  Data from the Michigan Overdose Data to Action Dashboard indicates that there were 2738 overdose deaths in 2020; in 2021 there were 2920 overdose deaths; and in 2022 from January to April, there were 850 overdose deaths.  The Michigan Automated Prescription System (MAPS) data included  prescription opioid units dispensed ranged from 98,356,480 in the first quarter of 2020 to 87,949859 in the second quarter of 2022.  More data is available, including statistics by county, at the website entitled opioid resources.

In addition to the increased use and overdose deaths from opioids and benzodiazepines, there has been an increase in the use of synthetic opioids, including fentanyl and carfentanil.  These drugs are considered stronger than other opioids, and are often mixed with heroin, and it is theorized that this mix is likely contributing to the increased overdoses occurring in Michigan and elsewhere.

There is a wide disparity in the amount and type of pain treatment provided in the community and in the correctional environment. The nature of incarceration makes some non-pharmacologic therapies that might normally be recommended difficult to support.  Pharmacological treatments may also be very challenging in our environment.  In this class, the pathophysiology of pain, the different types of pain, and the common medications used in the treatment of pain will be discussed.  In addition, the role of the correctional nurse in pain management of the incarcerated patient will be discussed.  This class satisfies the Michigan Board of Nursing’s criteria for a class in pain that is required of all nurses every two years prior to re-licensure.