The National Safety Council just released a report titled “Prescription Nation 2018” that reviews the progress U.S. states have made in fighting this nation’s opioid epidemic. While some states have implemented programs that are making a difference, the overall effect is still discouraging. Opioid-related overdose deaths continue to increase nationwide. According to SAMHSA, 2.1 million people misused prescription opioids for the first time in 2017. Also last year, 4.4 percent of the people in this country who were misusing prescription opioids (11.5 million people), were considered at risk for switching to heroin.

Recommendations to Win the Opioid Fight

Even though the opioid crisis was declared a public health emergency by the federal government in 2017, 115 people each day continue to die in opioid-related overdoses. The NSC studied each of the U.S. states to see how they were responding to the opioid crisis. Only 13 states and District of Columbia received passing grades and 8 states received a failing grade. In making these determinations, the agency provides six specific steps that a state can take to win the fight against opioid addiction.

1. Mandating Prescriber Education

This means that there is mandatory education for prescribers of opioids that keeps these healthcare professionals updated on the recommended best practices. It also provides the latest research related to addiction and treatment for pain. The recommendation is that all states require this continuing education. (34 states and D.C. achieved this indicator).

2. Implementing Opioid Prescribing Guidelines

The NSC recommends that states adopt the 2016 Chronic Pain Guideline released by the CDC. States should also have written treatment plans for chronic pain patients and perform a substance use disorder assessment prior to prescribing opioids. (33 states and D.C. achieved this indicator).

3. Integrating PDMPs Into Clinical Settings

States should have a prescription drug monitoring program (PDMP) that is operational, require its use for all initial opioid prescriptions, permit access by delegates, require information collection in 24 hours or less, and allow interstate sharing of data. (39 states and D.C. achieved this indicator).

4. Improving Data Collection and Sharing

In order to understand the full scope of the opioid epidemic, the NSC recommends that states have a system that requires the reporting of all drug overdose cases. (7 states achieved this indicator).

5. Treating Opioid Overdose

Since naloxone is a life-saving drug, the NSC recommends that states allow the availability of the drug without a prescription. States should also pass “Good Samaritan” laws to encourage overdose reporting and require that insurance companies cover the cost of this drug. (37 states and D.C. achieved this indicator).

6. Increasing Opioid Use Disorder Treatment Availability

States should expand the availability of all types of opioid addiction treatment, including medication-assisted treatment (MAT). The NSC recommends that states require that Medicaid cover all forms of MAT as well as other types of substance abuse treatment for opioids. (36 states and D.C. achieved this indicator). Three prescription slips with the words Opioids written on them.

Florida Substance Abuse Treatment is Available

In the latest report from the NSC, Florida is listed as “lagging” because it still needs to do work on its PDMP and its data collection/sharing program. Fortunately, the state receives high marks for the availability of qualified addiction treatment resources. If you or someone you love is looking for Florida substance abuse treatment, The Recovery Village can help. Contact us now to discuss admissions options and find out more about how one of our customized addiction treatment programs can help you leave opioids for good.
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“Prescription Nation” 2018, Part Two: Recommendations to Win the Opioid Fight
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