Health plans nationwide are working closely with state and federal leaders, as well as with physicians and other providers on multiple strategies to address the opioid crisis. To build on these efforts, America’s Health Insurance Plans (AHIP) has launched its Safe, Transparent Opioid Prescribing (STOP) Initiative. The STOP Initiative is designed to support widespread adoption of clinical guidelines for pain care and opioid prescribing.
Opioid misuse and addiction is an urgent public health crisis in America. As leading researchers have noted, the number of prescriptions for opioids (e.g., hydrocodone and oxycodone products such as Vicodin and Percocet, respectively) have escalated from approximately 76 million in 1991 to nearly 207 million in 2013.
The United States is the biggest consumer, accounting for almost 100 percent of the world total for hydrocodone and 81 percent of oxycodone use, as a result, approximately 142 Americans die every day from an opioid overdose.
Since 1999, the number of overdose deaths involving opioids has quadrupled (CDC). Drug overdoses, the majority of which are from opioids, are now the leading cause of death among Americans, outnumbering both traffic accidents and gun-related deaths (CDC). More than two million Americans are estimated to be dependent on opioids (SAMHSA). An additional 95 million used prescription painkillers in the past year — more than used tobacco (SAMHSA).
Medical management tools are a critical piece of ensuring patients receive safe, effective, and affordable care based on scientific evidence. As the industry works to tackle the opioid epidemic, these tools have become increasingly important when addressing pain management, reducing unnecessary opioid prescribing, and treating opioid use disorder (OUD).
AHIP has submitted several comment letters to Congress concerning the opioid crisis.
Health plans are committed to protecting patients from addiction and providing people with better pathways to healing.
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