The U.S. Surgeon General, Jerome Adams, released a report last month on this nation’s opioid crisis. The report provides the latest data on the epidemic, some education for readers and actions and recommendations that can help treat and prevent opioid addiction. Among the recommendations was a list targeted at the overall health care system to help stem abuse and promote recovery.

5 Actions by Health Care Systems to Address Opioid Abuse

According to preliminary data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, overdose deaths linked to opioids claimed the lives of close to 48,000 Americans in 2017. This was a nearly 10 percent increase over the prior year.

Some of the sharpest increases occurred in deaths related to synthetic drugs such as fentanyl, but the largest numbers of overdose deaths are linked to prescription painkillers. The Surgeon General recommends that health care systems take five specific actions to stem the tide of opioid abuse.

  1. Promote proven prevention strategies: The Surgeon General recommends that health care systems promote indicated, selective and universal prevention strategies.
  2. Promote the use of evidence-based addiction treatment: There may be a wide variety of addiction treatment options available, but not all are proven to work for an opioid use disorder. The report recommends the promotion of evidence-based addiction treatment, such as medication-assisted therapy (MAT).
  3. Promote more integration between the levels of prevention, treatment and recovery support services: Addiction is an intense disease, and people dealing with it should get help immediately. These opportunities can slip by, or there can be instances of return to use when there are gaps between prevention activities, addiction treatment and subsequent recovery support.
  4. Work with payers to create more comprehensive billing models: Having a lack of uniformity in the treatment community has led to fraud in some instances and treatment that is unaffordable in others. More comprehensive billing models can also add transparency to this industry.
  5. Create stronger integration among the various facets of treatment: A large percentage of patients with a substance use disorder also have some type of mental health condition. The Surgeon General recommends that there be better connections between behavioral health care and addiction treatment providers. These same strong connections should exist between treatment providers and general practitioners and other specialists.

doctor talking to patient and loved one

The Surgeon General recommends that the health care system strongly focuses on recommending evidence-based addiction treatment services. 

Qualified and Compassionate Opioid Addiction Treatment

Even though there is an effective treatment for opioid abuse available, only about 1 in 4 people who need help actually receive addiction treatment. Whether it be for stigma, a lack of willingness or not knowing about sources of affordable care, there remains a treatment gap.

At The Recovery Village, we offer comprehensive Florida addiction treatment services for opioid use disorders that provide clients with the tools they need to succeed in recovery. Contact The Recovery Village now to learn more about the facility’s programs and admissions options.