Opioids and Older Adults: A Community and Medical Perspective

Approximately 100 million adults in the U.S. suffer from chronic pain, which accounts for upwards of $635 billion per year in medical treatment and lost productivity. More than 50% of older adults suffer from chronic pain, placing this population at an increased risk for depression and distress, loss of functional independence, increased visits to the emergency department, and difficulty managing comorbid chronic conditions. Pharmacological treatment is commonly used to treat chronic pain, however, age confers physiological changes that increase the risk of side effects and mortality with opioid treatment. This training will dive into the community and medical responses aimed at creating greater access to treatment services and social supports to help older adults break their addictions and find new ways of taking control of their pain and their lives.


Mary Steiner is a graduate from the University of Colorado School of Nursing. As a registered nurse she has acquired experience in acute care, public health and management. Throughout her career, she has built a reputation for being a patient advocate, collaborator and a “builder” of projects and programs. In 2000 she was recognized by the Public Health Nurses Association of Colorado as the public health nurse of the year. As an emergency preparedness nurse coordinator working at the Oklahoma City County Health Department she was instrumental in the development of pediatric dosing protocols in the event of bioterrorism – an accomplishment that was recognized by the Centers for Disease Control. In her role as public health nurse manager, she facilitated the development of a program that received recognition as a promising practice by the National Association of Counties. In her current role as a community program manager, she is responsible for managing grant funded programs and initiatives sponsored by Community Health Partnership. In addition, Mary serves as the coordinator for the Coalition for Prevention, Addiction Education, and Recovery (CPAR), a program of Community Health partnership.
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