A study recently released in Public Health Reports—the official journal of the U.S. Surgeon General—used data from NASADAD’s 2015 inquiry on States’ efforts to address prescription drug misuse and heroin use to describe how States are combatting the opioid epidemic. The article, titled How States Are Tackling the Opioid Crisis, is the first of its kind to quantify and summarize State-level efforts to combat prescription drug and opioid addiction. As federal initiatives by Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) and the Office of National Drug Control Policy (ONDCP) aim to improve substance use disorder prevention and treatment, this article outlines the critical role that States—in particular the State alcohol and drug agencies—have in addressing the opioid crisis. The initiatives undertaken by States that are highlighted in the article include:
- Educating the general public, prescribers, patients and families, and pharmacists about the risks of opioids;
- Increasing funding for medication-assisted treatment;
- Expanding the availability of naloxone;
- Establishing guidelines for safe opioid prescribing;
- Requiring prescriber use of prescription monitoring programs;
- Enacting Good Samaritan laws to protect those helping treat overdoses; and
- Enacting legislation to regulate pain clinics.
Authors offer a review of the literature, noting that State alcohol and drug agencies’ efforts to address opioid misuse and addiction align with intervention models that have been previously evaluated. The article recognizes that State alcohol and drug agencies have demonstrated a robust response to the opioid crisis, and concludes that future efforts should “focus on maintenance and further expansion of the high-quality, evidence-based practices, policies, and programs” that States are already implementing.
Read the full article here.