Opioid Crisis

The United States is in the midst of an opioid overdose epidemic. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, from 2000 to 2016, more than 600,000 people died from drug overdoses. Opioids killed more than 42,000 people in 2016, more than any year on record. On average, 115 Americans die every day from an opioid overdose.

Research indicates that better integration of behavioral health services, including substance use treatment, into the health care continuum can have a positive impact on overall health outcomes. AMITA Health remains committed to being part of the collective action necessary to end this crisis.

What’s New?

Legislators at the federal and state level have been focused on the opioid crisis that has a grip on America.   On September 28, 2018 the U.S. House of Representatives voted 393-8 to approve legislation that addresses two key policy areas – preventing addiction and increasing access to treatment and recovery.  While the “Substance Use–Disorder Prevention that Promotes Opioid Recovery and Treatment for Patients and Communities Act’’ or SUPPORT Act would give Medicaid programs the option to cover up to 30 days per year of services for substance use disorder (SUD) treatment in an Institution for Mental Diseases (IMD), it did not include responsible sharing of patients’ SUD treatment information in accordance with HIPAA.  This last provision is seen as critical to coordinate healthcare efforts  across varying settings of care with different providers for those suffering from addiction.   This final version of the legislation will move back to the U.S. Senate for a vote before going to President Trump for his signature.

The following sections below take a deeper look into key legislative initiatives to address the opioid crisis and includes links to recent articles, which can also be found in Featured News.

Opioid Prescribing

Missouri is the only state that does not have a prescription drug monitoring program.  However, each state has their own system, operated by one of many agencies and they don’t all talk to one another.  What does this mean?  A person in Illinois could easily cross the border into one of our neighboring five states and fill additional prescriptions for the same drug.  Within the state, prescribers or their designee, should be using the Illinois Prescription Monitoring Program (ILPMP) to understand their patient’s prescription history and prevent unsafe prescribing and dispensing.

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Opioid Disposal

The majority of teens abusing prescription drugs get them from family, friends and the home medicine cabinet.  Law enforcement has historically spearheaded “take back” initiatives because of the sensitivity and street demand for the drugs being disposed.  In recent years, the pharmaceutical industry and pharmacies have sought solutions to make sure unused drugs are disposed of properly and don’t add to the growing crisis.  Yet, we continue to see opioid addiction take its toll on our communities.

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Addiction Treatment

Some individuals who struggle with addiction may have been prescribed a prescription painkiller not knowing the impact it would have on their life.  When they misuse or can no longer achieve the same results with a certain amount, they turn to heroin or other more potent, more affordable and more accessible alternatives.  Those suffering from addiction can have long-term health effects but also face housing, employment, relationship and legal challenges.  The economic toll of addiction on the state is significant and estimated to be greater than $3.5 billion.  Addiction is preventable.  It is also a chronic disease that can be managed through therapy, medical and social supports.

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Featured News

Featured news includes articles from multiple viewpoints and is designed to keep you abreast of the current debate around this issue. This information should not be construed as our point of view.

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Congress’ latest opioid bill won’t solve the crisis

Congress’ latest efforts to address the opioid crisis won’t be enough to stop the unrelenting scourge of overdose deaths across the country.   Public health experts ...

Politico + September 17, 2018 + View Article

What’s in, what’s out, and what’s still on the table in the opioids package passed by the Senate

The Senate on Monday passed a wide-ranging opioids bill, one that aims to prevent illicit fentanyl trafficking, account for drug diversion in opioid manufacturing quotas, and improve access ...

Stat + September 17, 2018 + View Article