Community Engagement

Contact Us

Joe Bohn, PhD, MBA      
Assistant Professor & Director of Community Engagement
Universtity of South Florida
College of Public Health
13201 Bruce B. Downs Blvd., MDC56
Tampa, FL 336312-3805

About Flip the Script


Flip the Script promotes discovery, understanding, and use of safe and encouraging pain management approaches to reduce opioid prescription misuse and abuse in older adults.

Together, we can Learn More, Be Prepared, and Take Action to Flip the Script on pain!

Materials can be used by older adults, care partners, and health care providers to learn more about:

  • Pain
  • Pain management approaches
  • Using pain medicine safely
  • Signs and symptoms of prescription opioid misuse and abuse
  • Safe storage and disposal of pain medicine




The opioid epidemic in the United States is a far-reaching and life-threatening problem that affects persons of all ages. Although current data shows that 45-55 year olds are the most heavily affected older adult age group, these individuals, if not treated, will continue to be affected later in life. In addition, misdiagnosis and under communication of pain or medication side effects by older adults age 65 and older could account for lower levels of reported opioid misuse in this population.

For older adults, there are a number of factors that can be attributed to this issue, including multiple chronic conditions and chronic pain, polypharmacy, poor health literacy, a misunderstanding of the medication or how to take it, little understanding of serious side effects and signs of overdose, and the stigma of addiction. Reports from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services on Medicare Part D opioid prescribing rates support the notion that adults 65 years and older are indeed affected by opioids. The data shows that nationally, one-third of beneficiaries or 14.4 million people had at least one opioid prescription in 2016, with over 500,000 beneficiaries using very high amounts of the medication (DHHS/OIG, 2017).

In geriatric medicine, relief of pain and suffering, and promotion of functional status and quality of life are at the heart of standard care. Healthcare providers frequently deal with issues of chronic pain in the older adult population. Pain is estimated to affect 79% of patients 85 years old and older and 25%–50% of community-dwelling older adults have been shown to have substantial pain (AGS Geriatrics Review Syllabus article on Pain Management).

Safe storage and disposal of opioids is also part of responsible use. Oversharing of medications by older adults as well as theft by family members is common. Patient and caregiver education surrounding this issue can help reduce these common and unfortunate acts. 



Flip the Script was created by the Florida State University College of Medicine, Department of Geriatrics and the University of South Florida… The media campaign portion of Flip the Script was designed for community-dwelling older adults and their care partners who reside in Florida’s Big Bend and the Greater Tampa Bay regions. However, the resources and materials that were developed can be used by all health care providers, care partners, and older adults to learn more about pain, pain management approaches, and prescription opioid misuse and abuse.

Sponsored By

This project was supported by the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS). Both universities were eligible to receive a competitive, supplemental award to enhance current Geriatric Workforce Enhancement Program activities. The supplemental award required funded organizations to focus on opioid abuse education and training that addresses prevention, assessment, management, and treatment in older adults. The total funding received by Florida State University and the University of South Florida for this project was $63,650.


Thank you to our partners and collaborators

We would like to thank the organizations and individuals who participated in completing the needs assessment, strategic planning, and campaign development and messaging. Specific thanks go to:

Moore Communications