‘Prescription Nation’ 2018: Many states not doing enough to tackle opioid crisis

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Itasca, IL — Despite widespread acknowledgement of the severity of the opioid crisis, most states have been slow to respond, according to a recent report from the National Safety Council.

Only 13 states and the District of Columbia have implemented comprehensive, proven measures to address what NSC calls “the worst drug crisis in recorded U.S. history” in Prescription Nation 2018. The report, which analyzes how states are battling the opioid crisis, has been released annually since 2013.

NSC identifies six actions that “could have immediate and sustained impact” in combating the opioid epidemic – which claimed more than 42,000 American lives in 2016 – as well as the number of states employing them:

  • Mandating prescriber education (34 states and D.C.)
  • Implementing opioid prescribing guidelines (33 states and D.C.)
  • Integrating prescription drug monitoring programs into clinical settings (39 states and D.C.)
  • Improving data collection and sharing (seven states)
  • Treating opioid overdose (37 states and D.C.)
  • Increasing availability of opioid use disorder treatment (36 states and D.C.)

States earning NSC’s highest mark of “Improving” in this year’s report include Arizona, Connecticut, Delaware, Georgia, Michigan, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Mexico, North Carolina, Ohio, Rhode Island, Virginia and West Virginia, as well as D.C.

“While we see some states improving, we still have too many that need to wake up to this crisis,” NSC President and CEO Deborah A.P. Hersman said in an April 2 press release. “For the past five years, the council has released ‘Prescription Nation’ reports to provide a roadmap for saving lives across the country. We hope states adopt the recommended actions laid out here so we can eliminate preventable opioid deaths and stop an everyday killer.”