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.
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.”
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.
I love Prince. My first job was at a movie theater that played Purple Rain for months.
I saw that movie hundreds of times, in five-minute bursts while I left the ticket booth unattended. My first concert was the Purple Rain tour – at the Capital Centre, outside of Washington, DC; one of the first albums I bought with my own money was Dirty Mind, on cassette, no less.
When it comes to addressing opiate addiction, it’s all beginning to come together.
Within mere days of each other, Massachusetts Gov. Charlie Baker signed a historic law holding great promise to curb the Commonwealth’s opioid epidemic; the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) released new guidelines for prescribing opioids; and the U.S. Senate passed the Comprehensive Addiction and Recovery Act of 2016 (CARA) by a near-unanimous vote.
Our country’s “War on Drugs” began in 1971 with President Nixon’s declaration that drug use was “public enemy number one in the United States.”
In addition to drugs as a symbol of youthful rebellion and radicalization, America’s new home-turf war was fueled by a growing literature base supporting the biological theory of addiction. However, one of the most interesting experiments to emerge from that era challenged this biological view. It became known as “Rat Park.”
In February, President Obama proposed a FY17 budget that allocates $1.1B in new funding to address the opioid use disorder crisis in the United States.
Whatever one’s politics (or general anxieties about the 2016 election season), we all agree that something must change. Despite the best efforts of policymakers, health care professionals, and communities to combat this problem, opioid deaths continue to rise, prompting the question: Why is the epidemic so pervasive?
Read Beacon Health Options’ white paper, “Confronting the Crisis of Opioid Addiction“ You’re unlikely to read or hear the news these days without learning more about the devastation of opioid addiction in our communities – large and small, rich and poor, urban and suburban – it’s everywhere, much the way the flu snakes its way through schools and workplaces. Indeed, there are a staggering 2 million Americans addicted to opioids; this fact should have the public standing at attention in a way it never has before. We have to do something – and quickly. While we’re hearing of it more than ever, addiction is not new. Where and when has the system failed? Deep-rooted challenges include addressing stigma and the “character…