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National Safety Council outlines seven startling facts about Rx painkillers

BY Antoinette Alexander

ITASCA, Ill. — In observance of National Poison Prevention Week, which is March 16 to 22, the National Safety Council has released a list of facts many people do not — but need to — know about prescription painkiller use.

Did you know?

1. Forty-five people die every day from opioid prescription painkillers — more deaths than heroin and cocaine overdoses combined;

2. In 2010, enough prescription painkillers were provided to medicate every American around the clock for an entire month;

3. More than 70% of people who abused prescription pain relievers got the pills from friends or relatives. Only about 5% got the painkillers from a drug dealer or from the Internet;

4. The United States contains only 4.6% of the world’s population, but consumes 80% of the world’s opioids and 99% of the world’s hydrocodone;

5. While middle-aged men and women have the highest prescription painkiller fatal overdose rates, the rates are increasing most rapidly among women. Overdose death rates in women have increased more than 400% since 1999, compared to 265% among men. Teen use also is rising. One-in-eight high school seniors admit to using prescription painkillers recreationally;

6. Prescription painkillers are gateway drugs to heroin. In 10 years of treating patients for substance abuse and addiction, NSC Medical Advisor Dr. Don Teater reports having just one patient whose prescription painkiller addiction began with a heroin addiction. All other patients have first been addicted to painkillers and switched to heroin because it is cheaper; and

7. Heroin overdose deaths receive significant media attention. But while these deaths increased 45% from 2006 to 2010, prescription painkiller deaths have risen by more than 300% since 1999.

“The number of fatal prescription painkiller overdoses is staggering and unacceptable,” stated John Ulczycki, VP strategic initiatives at NSC. “We need immediate action at the local, state and federal levels. National Poison Prevention Week is the perfect time to begin a dialog about how to address this issue so we can save lives.”

According to the NSC report, Prescription Nation, 47 states are failing to adequately address nonmedical prescription painkiller use. NSC examined state efforts in four areas: state leadership and action, Prescription Drug Monitoring Programs, responsible painkiller prescribing and overdose education and prevention programs.

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McKesson Specialty Health call center earns certification as a BenchmarkPortal Center of Excellence

BY Antoinette Alexander

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. — McKesson Specialty Health has announced that its Reimbursement, Access and Safety Services Solution Center in Scottsdale, Ariz., was certified as a Center of Excellence for the fifth consecutive year by BenchmarkPortal.

Out of thousands of call centers and all industry segments in North America, the McKesson Specialty Health Solution Center was recognized as a top 100 call center and as a top 10 center in the large-size category for 2013.

The McKesson Specialty Health Reimbursement, Access & Safety Services Solution Center provides educational, reimbursement, REMS, clinical, data gathering and marketing services on behalf of pharmaceutical manufacturers. Its staff of 900 seats facilitates more than 11 million interactions annually, offering support for single and multi-drug programs for therapies in oncology, rheumatology and other therapeutic areas.

“A contact center that seeks and achieves the Center of Excellence Certification from BenchmarkPortal demonstrates a noteworthy commitment to service excellence,” said Bruce Belfiore, CEO of BenchmarkPortal. “The obvious beneficiaries of this commitment are the center’s customers, employees and shareholders.”

Contact centers achieve the Center of Excellence distinction based on best-practice metrics drawn from the world’s largest database of objective and quantitative data that is audited and validated by researchers from BenchmarkPortal. BenchmarkPortal’s certification process has the advantage of referencing all performance goals to their best practice database of thousands of contact centers.

“We are thrilled to receive the Center of Excellence award from BenchmarkPortal,” stated Heather Morel, VP and GM of health informatics and reimbursement, access and safety services at McKesson Specialty Health. “It is representative of the culture of quality that we are committed to as a leading healthcare services organization and a testament to the world-class service, program design and management that our employees deliver to patients, providers and manufacturer customers every day.”

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5-hour Energy sponsors soccer player Oribe Peralta

BY Ryan Chavis

FARMINGTON HILLS, Mich. — Living Essentials, distributors of 5-hour Energy shots, announced that it is sponsoring Mexican soccer star Oribe Peralta, striker for the Mexican National Team and MX Santos Laguna team. This marks the first time 5-hour Energy has worked with a professional soccer player.

“We are thrilled to have Oribe Peralta as part of 5-hour Energy’s growing roster of world-class athletes,” said Scott Henderson, president of Living Essentials. “With 2014 being a World Cup year, this is an exciting time for us to work with a world-class athlete in this hugely popular sport. We see a lot of promise and future in the Mexican National Team led by Oribe Peralta.”

Peralta was a key player on the 2012 Mexican Olympic team, which brought home gold in London after beating Brazil 2-1. He also made history when his first goal — scored in 29 seconds — was the fastest in the Summer Olympics and in any FIFA tournament final. When he’s not on the field, Peralta is a devoted husband and father to two young children.

“I’ve been telling the guys on the field that 5-hour Energy helps me stay alert, and I’m looking forward to sharing that with a much larger audience,” Peralta said. “Between traveling all over the world playing soccer and keeping up with my kids, my energy and focus levels must be at their best.”

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