Ohio is no stranger to the shadow that’s been cast by the opioid epidemic. According to research done by The Ohio State University, the opioid epidemic in our state costs up to $8.8 billion a year. For reference, that’s about the same amount we spent on K through 12 education in the state. But the cost doesn’t stop there. In 2017, Ohio ranked second in the nation for opioid related deaths.
Even though there are times that the opioid epidemic can seem overwhelming, Ohio has been fighting back for the past couple years. In fact, our state is on the frontlines of this fight. Opioid addiction does not discriminate and has no concerns with wealth or status, which is why many resources across the state have rallied to stop the momentum of opioids.
Change is a natural part of fighting the opioid epidemic in Ohio. With reforms taking place across insurance, healthcare and infrastructure, this fight can affect everyday life for Ohioans. In this post, we’re going to outline four facts you should know about how our state is taking on the opioid crisis.
1. Drug Manufacturers are Being Held Accountable
Cuyahoga and Summit Counties in Ohio reached a settlement of 260 million dollars with three of the biggest drug distributors last month. How were these drug companies at fault? The accusation is that opioids were aggressively marketed by the pharmaceutical industry. Critics also say that these companies downplayed how serious the risk for addiction is for opioids.
What does this settlement mean? Experts agree that this win for these Ohio counties will likely have the following effects:
1. Any new opioids or drugs with a risk of addiction will be under a tougher microscope moving forward.
2. The money gained in the settlement will be used to build more resources in Ohio to fight those affected by opioid addiction.
2. Ohio is Limiting the Number of Opioid Prescriptions
Let’s take a minute to think back only a couple of years ago. With limited focus or regulation on the amount of medicine prescribed, opioids were easier to get by the public. But the good news is that Ohio has taken stricter action against that. Through the Ohio Governor’s Cabinet Opiate Action Team (GCOAT) and the state medical community, Ohio has new rules for prescribing opioids.
The new guidelines are designed to help prevent people from “doctor shopping” and include the following that will affect opioid prescriptions throughout the state:
• A 90-day supply cap on an opioid prescription
• Prescriptions not used within 30 days are no longer valid
• Pharmacy technicians are now required by law to register with the Board of Pharmacy
There’s no question that opioids are addictive. And it’s possible for someone who is prescribed opioids to become addicted without meaning to. While the program is still new, there are high hopes that it will lower the amount of opioid addiction in Ohio.
3. Providing Greater Access to Treatment
Opioid addiction is a disease that requires the right resources for treatment. Ohio has seen an increase in two major treatment options over the last few years:
The Expansion of Naloxone
Ohio has made Naloxone or Narcan more available to emergency citizens and private citizens. Narcan is a lifesaving drug that can stabilize someone going through an opioid overdose. The goal is to reduce opioid overdoses by making Narcan and the training to use it more available.
An Increase in Treatment Facilities
Ohio has seen an increase in addiction treatment facilities over the last few years. This growth is in large part due to the Ohio government’s push to make medication-assisted treatment (MAT) more available. MAT is a great tool that helps make opioid addiction treatment as comfortable as possible.
Opioid treatment facilities like Silver Maple Recovery use MAT to help people break free from addiction. While someone is going through detox, MAT is used to help manage withdrawal symptoms.
4. Fighting the Addiction Stigma and the Medicaid Expansion
One of the main reasons people struggling with opioid addiction in Ohio don’t seek treatment is the assumption that they can’t afford it. And for those not insured, that belief only grows stronger. But Ohio has taken steps to fight the stigma behind addiction. Over the last few years, our state has fought to expand Medicaid coverage.
If you or a loved one is suffering from an opioid addiction, Ohio strives to provide access to coverage. Do you have Medicaid insurance? With the Medicaid expansion that’s occurred, part or the entire portion of opioid addiction treatment could be covered. Addiction treatment centers like Silver Maple Recovery can help you verify your insurance.
Take the First Step in Recovery with Silver Maple Recovery
The opioid epidemic is personal for Ohioans. Most of us know someone who has been affected. Whether you’re fighting an opioid addiction yourself or trying to pull a loved one away from its grip, we’re here to help you find a path to healing.
With an expert local staff with inpatient and outpatient services, we’re here to help you heal from opioid addiction. Find out more about our evidence-based approach by contacting our staff today. A path to healing to waiting, all you need to do is reach for it.