The United States is in the midst of an unprecedented opioid epidemic, but the unfortunate reality is that only one out of 10 Americans with a substance use disorder (SUD) receives treatment.
That statistic alone is shocking, but even worse, widespread adoption of evidence-based practices has been limited.
The opioid epidemic has become an all-too-familiar topic in hospital grand rounds, in political speeches, in daily news briefings, and in social media hashtags.
However, there is another epidemic, one that in many cases actually overlaps with, and exacerbates, the opioid crisis: benzodiazepine misuse.
A recent Open Minds piece entitled “Untangling the Access Issues for Addiction Treatment” points to four reasons as to why addiction services are rarely or never accessible.
… Most people wouldn’t argue the role these factors play in contributing to access challenges for OUD treatment. However, some people might argue that we need to probe further to untangle what access really looks like in the larger health care delivery system.
The prevalence of substance use disorder (SUD), highlighted by the opioid crisis, is not new news.
Approximately, 21 million Americans have an SUD. In 2015 alone, opioids killed more than 33,000 people in the United States, more than any previous year on record, according to the Centers for Disease Control.
Paul Gileno, founder and president of the U.S. Pain Foundation, recently addressed in an opinion piece the common ascribed-to culprits of the opioid crisis: overprescribing physicians, Big Pharma and even demanding patients.
However, he adds to his list of culprits one not usually seen: the health insurance industry, essentially arguing that insurance does not cover many non-pharmaceutical options for pain relief, such as physical therapy, massage, biofeedback and more.
President Donald Trump has acknowledged that overdose deaths are “a tremendous problem in our country.”
In a press briefing on Tuesday, Aug. 8, he stated that this epidemic threatens everybody, “young and old, rich and poor, urban and rural communities.”
Suicide has had an impact on my life since I was a young child.
My grandfather completed suicide when I was just 5 years old. I saw the impact on my family from a child’s eyes, but the true depth of that impact wouldn’t come to pass until later in life.
So often when we speak about mental illness and substance use disorders, we talk about numbers: the number of people who have died from overdoses; the number of people who take antidepressants; the cost of mental health to society at large.
However, at the Kennedy Forum Illinois in December, keynote speakers put a face and soul to addiction.
Almost a century has passed, but these words continue to ring true and speak to our current tragic opiate crisis.
This crisis has touched almost everyone I have met and has spared no demographic group. The silver lining in this cloudy sky is the mobilization and alignment of legislators, medical professionals, the public and the insurance industry on wiping out this epidemic. Fortunately, changes have occurred rapidly that foretell a positive direction.
With the breakneck speed at which health care research is advancing, it’s logical to argue that medical knowledge is outpacing medical practice, especially in behavioral health.
That’s why it’s important for Beacon Health Options (Beacon) to seek out the tools health professionals need to stay abreast of the latest advancements in evidence-based care.