The abuse of opioids such as prescription pain relievers and heroin is a global problem, and it has reached epidemic levels in the United States. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), 91 Americans die each day from an opioid overdose, many from heroin and fentanyl use.
While there is some federal help available in the form of prevention, social programs, and grant funding, individual states are beginning to address this growing drug addiction problem with some aggressive new programs. Here are just a few state-specific strategies for combating our nation’s opioid addiction epidemic.
New England has been one of the hardest-hit regions of the country with regards to opioid addiction and its fallout. Massachusetts put together an aggressive multi-faceted program to address drug addiction, and it is one that is now being rolled out as a pilot program to eight states by the National Governor’s Association. Massachusetts has a state Residential Substance Abuse Program and has implemented the use of naltrexone statewide to prevent overdoses and reduce cravings. Massachusetts also offers treatment to people in the prison system and those in drug court. The states now involved in the new pilot program are Alaska, Kansas, Indiana, Minnesota, North Carolina, New Jersey, Virginia, and Washington.
Earlier this year, New Jersey passed on of the most comprehensive state laws to both address and combat the growing opioid crisis. The law reduces the number of opioid pain medication pills that a patient can receive on his or her first prescription from 30 to just five days. Physicians must also explain the addictive nature of the drugs to patients. For patients who need treatment, health insurers must cover up to 180 days of treatment without a preauthorization.
Washington State developed an interagency working plan in early 2016 to address opioid abuse. The agency’s goals are to prevent opioid abuse, treat opioid dependence, and prevent overdose deaths. The task force involves more than a dozen state-level agencies, more than 15 professional associations, state academic institutions, and several local entities to achieve its goals.
On May 3, 2017, Governor Rick Scott signed an Executive Order (EO 17-146) in response to the national and state opioid problem. The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) has an Opioid State Targeted Response Grant. This new order will allow communities to receive more than $27 million in federal funding from that HHS grant. That money will be used to provide drug addiction treatment, prevention, and recovery services throughout the state. At the same time, Gov. Scott directed the State Surgeon General to declare a public health emergency and to make Naloxone readily available.
National Governors Association
In addition to the moves by individual states, governors and physicians throughout the country have come together to call for an end to this tragic crisis. In 2016, a joint statement was issued by the National Governors Association (NGA), American Medical Association Chair, and the Health and Human Services Committee Chair. The statement called for the use of prescription drug monitoring databases, better patient education about addiction, and the prioritization of substance abuse treatment in American communities.
Addiction is a deadly disease and those caught in the grip of opioid addiction often feel lost, alone, and desperate. Fortunately, there is help available. The Recovery Village understands the treatment and recovery needs associated with opioid addiction. Contact us to learn more about our drug addiction treatment program or to discuss admission options.