The National Institute for Healthcare Management recently hosted a webinar on public- and private-sector efforts to prevent opioid overdose and death, including initiatives to ensure appropriate prescription of pain medications and to expand access to addiction treatment.
Between 1999 and 2013, the amount of prescription painkillers dispensed in the U.S. quadrupled. In roughly the same period, both painkiller-related deaths and heroin-related deaths quadrupled as well. This is no coincidence—people who are addicted to prescription opioids are 40 times more likely to abuse heroin. The U.S. is now facing an epidemic of opioid abuse, but promising interventions could turn the tide.
This webinar featured innovative efforts to reverse opioid abuse trends, including:
- Payer collaboration with providers and pharmacies to improve access to appropriate pain care
- Federal actions to reform prescribing practices and expand access to medication-assisted treatment for addiction
- Interventions to reduce drug abuse among pregnant women and to improve treatment for babies born dependent
- Strategies for raising awareness of the risks associated with painkiller addiction