The Opioid Epidemic has grown dramatically since 2010. In 2016, two out of every three drug overdose deaths involved opioids, and one in five deaths among young adults were opioid related. In 2013, the United States accounted for 78 percent of the global use of Oxycodone. Each day, an estimated 1,600 young adults misuse an opioid prescription for the first time. In 2016, President Obama signed into law the CARA Act, an initial attempt to support efforts at alleviating the crisis. In response to a greater need for funding and supports, the United States Senate passed The Opioid Crisis Response Act of 2018 on September 17, 2018. This new law provides funding for not less than ten treatment centers to be established across the United States. Key elements of the law are the development of centers focused on outreach, treatment and recovery services, and care coordination and data sharing.
Outreach services are focused on both treating the existing crisis and preventing the expansion of the crisis. The Opioid Crisis Response Act encourages the development of community-based needs assessments with a focus on developing a collaborative network of providers and supports on both the local and state level as well as across multiple disciplines. Additionally, centers provide evidence-based resources to peer organizations and the public to help educate on opioid use disorders as well as substance use in general.
These cross-discipline outreach programs enable a multi-pronged approach to care that focuses beyond the immediate need and drives awareness of social determinants of health as well as providing for whole person care. Community-based, collaborative work empowers deeper, more consistent patient care at the individual level.
Treatment and Recovery Services
Aside from enabling outreach efforts, the Act also provides for an expansion of treatment and recovery services. The Act grants funding to periodically assess patient results to ensure continued and meaningful recovery as well as expand the range of treatment options. Not only are all FDA-approved treatment medications supported by the Act, but detoxification, counseling, housing, peer-based supports, job training, and inpatient and outpatient programs are eligible for inclusion. Expanding supports beyond the medical community increases the likelihood of long-term success and recovery for patients and develops the support net for those who deal with opioid use disorders.
Care Coordination and Data Sharing
Jessie’s Law—a bill designed to encourage and support the sharing of opioid related addictions with fellow providers—highlights the need for expanded care coordination and data sharing in combating the Opioid Epidemic. The bill is named for Jessie Grubb, a sober addict who died after being prescribed opioids as the result of an injury. The Opioid Crisis Response Act encourages greater collaboration between providers and supports across the community to help prevent tragedies such as what happened to Jessie. Greater collaboration necessitates improved data sharing, communication, and coordination between involved parties. Additionally, the Act mandates reporting and program oversight to, among many things, measure the effectiveness and success of individual centers in combating opioid use disorders. Improving data dissemination and care coordination across the spectrum of supports can only result in improved health outcomes for all involved.
The Opioid Epidemic is a national crisis that impacts the lives of numerous people across the nation, but it is a preventable and treatable crisis. The Opioid Crisis Response Act of 2018 is the latest effort in fighting that battle, but to be truly effective it requires a high level of coordination and data sharing between the various support groups.
Learn how the city of Nashua, New Hampshire created an innovative Safe Station program to help individuals seeking assistance with addiction recovery.
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