What are Opioids?

Opioids are a group of pain medications used in the treatment of moderate to severe pain. However, they were never intended for long-term use. When prescription opioids are used appropriately, they can be an important part of managing acute or chronic pain, although they are associated with some serious side effects, particularly in older adults. There are non-opioid medications and integrative therapies such as physical therapy, exercise, acupuncture, ultrasound chair yoga and chair Tai Chi, and other therapies that may be as beneficial in managing chronic pain without the serious side effects.

Arkansas ranks 46th overall for senior health status and has the 2nd highest overall opioid prescribing rate in the nation especially for older adults on Medicare. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), in 2019, the opioid prescribing rate for Arkansas was 102.1 opioid prescriptions for every 100 persons – nearly twofold greater than the average U.S. rate of 58.7.

The O.P.A.L. Education and Awareness Program

In response to the national opioid epidemic, under the direction of Dr. Jeanne Wei and Dr. Gohar Azhar, the O.P.A.L. Program is providing adults age 55 and older and their caregiver(s) an opportunity to learn more about opioid pain medications, non-opioid pain medications and integrative medicine therapies like Tai Chi, Yoga, mindfulness meditation and other therapies for the management of chronic pain. In addition, we are educating older adults about the dangers of over-the-counter medications that are not approved by the primary physician. Resource such as over-the counter medications, prevention of falls and how to protect yourself and others from covid-19 may also be found on this website are free. Please browse by topic at your convenience.

Education resources for patients are available on the O.P.A.L. site.  To access these resources including flyers and booklets on opioid pain medications and integrative therapies, please register here.  After you register, you may access the documents.

Education resources for the physicians are available on the O.P.A.L. site.  To access these resources including special considerations for prescribing opioid pain medications for older adults, please register.  After you register, you may access the documents.

Below is a list of free resources available to you provided by the O.P.A.L. program:

You will need to register for each online source before viewing. We would like to know the number of seniors and others who are taking advantage of our resources. Thank you for visiting our site!

Patient Education Resources

Physician Education Resources

O.P.A.L. Newletters

  • Fall 2020