Helping state policymakers mitigate the opioid epidemic

Published September 6, 2017

Today, opioid overdoses kill more Americans than car crashes and other injuries combined. That makes opioid use disorder one of the most pressing public health crises of our time.

We know this epidemic has devastated families and whole communities. But we also know it has placed an incredible burden on state and local governments, law enforcement agencies, justice departments and the foster care system.

There’s no single solution for curbing this crisis, but Blue Cross and Blue Shield (BCBS) companies are working in every zip code, in partnership with health care providers, researchers and local communities to address it.

Blue Cross Blue Shield Association recently partnered with Governing Magazine to create a handbook that outlines proactive strategies policymakers can take to help mitigate the opioid crisis in their states and local communities. They include:

  1. Promoting the CDC's Guideline for Prescribing Opioids for Chronic Pain
  2. Focusing on training current and future prescribers
  3. Launching drug take-back programs
  4. Developing tools to support safe prescribing
  5. Establishing cross-agency partnerships or convening community stakeholder groups
  6. Developing public education campaigns
  7. Expanding and improving access to treatment
  8. Increasing the use and improving the usability of prescription drug monitoring programs
  9. Encouraging coordinated, patient-centered care
  10. Supporting criminal justice diversion programs

You can learn more about each of these strategies when you download the guide.

Because BCBS companies provide health insurance for more than one in three Americans, we understand our responsibility to be part of the solution. You can read more about our efforts to address opioid use disorder here.