Spike In Accidental Deaths In U.S. Attributed To Opioid Overdoses
The category, which includes accidental drug overdoses, saw a 10 percent uptick in 2016. Meanwhile, states are starting to open their Medicaid programs to covering alternative pain treatments in an effort to combat the opioid crisis.
Opioid Crisis Blamed For Sharp Increase In Accidental Deaths In U.S.
Accidental deaths in the United States rose significantly in 2016, becoming the third-leading cause of fatalities for the first time in more than a century – a trend fueled by the steep rise in opioid overdoses, the National Safety Council reports. Accidents — defined by the council as unintentional, preventable injuries — claimed a record 161,374 lives in 2016, a 10 percent increase over 2015. They include motor vehicle crashes, falls, drowning, chocking and poisoning, a category that encompasses accidental overdoses. (Neuman, 1/17)
As Opioid Crisis Grows, States Opening Medicaid To Alternative Medicine
The quickest way to erase pain is to give patients an opioid. But a rise in prescriptions has fueled a national epidemic of fatal overdoses, with a large share of the deaths occurring in low-income communities. Under intense pressure to combat the problem, states across the country are expanding their Medicaid programs to cover alternative treatments such as acupuncture, massage, and yoga. The effort could increase non-opioid options for low-income patients suffering from pain. But it also opens states to criticism from skeptics who say taxpayers are being forced to fund unproven treatments based on political expediency instead of sound science. (Ross, 1/17)
In other opioid news —
VA Makes Opioid Prescribing Rates Public For First Time
The opioid prescription rates at the VA medical centers in Florida dropped by at least 25 percent between 2012 and 2017, according to a new interactive map posted online by the Department of Veterans Affairs. VA for the first time made the information public this month as part of its “efforts to be the most transparent agency in government,” according to its website. (Miller, 1/16)
Florida’s Drug Policy Council Yet To See Action On Opioids
lorida’s Drug Policy Advisory Council is a hodgepodge of state government appointees, but they’re the closest Florida has to a coordinated response to the growing opioid epidemic. So the panel was mystified Thursday why its annual report outlining clear steps to fight the opioid crisis — including reviving the Office of Drug Control — hasn’t received more attention from Gov. Rick Scott and legislators. (Mower, 1/16)