Combatting Opioid Use Disorder
Addiction to opioids is a leading cause of accidental death in America, killing tens of thousands of people every year. To address this complex and growing public health crisis, the healthcare industry must work together to understand causes and find solutions. Anthem is responding to this epidemic through a three-pillar strategy focused on prevention, treatment and recovery, and deterrence.
Today, the President’s Commission on Combating Drug Addiction and the Opioid Crisis held a meeting at the White House with health plan leaders, including Anthem Chairman, President and CEO, Joe Swedish.
As our country faces an unprecedented opioid epidemic, it is incumbent on healthcare institutions and professionals to find better approaches to lessening suffering and improving quality of life for those who have chronic pain.
Last week, the Association for Behavioral Health and Wellness (ABHW) held an event that explored current efforts underway by U.S. health plans to confront the opioid epidemic. The event featured panelists from three different health plans, including Anthem’s Vice President of Behavioral Health & Clinical Programs, Dr. Sherry Dubester.
Drug overdoses are the leading cause of accidental death in America, killing tens of thousands of people every year. We’ve chronicled the opioid epidemic plaguing our country in previous blog posts on this site, and discussed the ways those in the healthcare industry can work together to help address this complex and growing crisis.
Anthem is committed to helping its affiliated health plans combat the epidemic through new initiatives aimed to double the number of consumers who receive behavioral health services as part of medication-assisted therapy for opioid addiction. To address the continued overuse of opioid prescriptions, Anthem-affiliated health plans aim to reduce the amount of opioids dispensed by their members by 30 percent from historic peak levels by the end of 2019.
One major factor contributing to the opioid epidemic is that prescribing practices have not been subject to a high level of scrutiny for more than a decade. There has been insufficient training with respect to prescribing guidelines and a lack of regulation regarding responsible prescribing practices. When it comes to the treatment of opioid addiction, there has been a lack of adequate access to high-quality, evidence-based treatment, including medication-assisted treatment (MAT).
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