While there is still much work to be done in combating America’s opioid epidemic, it is important to recognize where progress has been made. A recent report by the IQVIA INSTITUTE shows that the prescribing of opioids for pain management declined by nearly 8% in 2017. In fact, opioid prescriptions have been declining since they peaked in 2011. Additionally, those who are receiving opioid prescriptions are being prescribed lower dosages and for shorter periods of time than in previous years. Along with an increase in the general awareness of the risk for opioid misuse, the report points out that 24 states have set strict limits on the length and dosage of new opioid prescriptions. It appears that messaging and new guidelines related to the risk of opioid dependence are having a real impact on the prescribing habits of doctors.
At the same time that new opioid prescriptions are declining, Medication-Assisted Treatment (MAT) participation has seen a significant increase. MAT includes the administration of FDA approved medications along with support services, such as counseling, for a comprehensive approach to treatment. This form of treatment is considered the gold standard of care for opioid use disorder. Since the start of 2016, new prescriptions for the purpose of MAT have nearly doubled. IQVIA’s report credits the rise in new MAT starts, in part, to increased funding for MAT programs.
These trends are certainly encouraging. However, plenty of challenges remain before the tide is likely to turn in our country’s struggle with opioid addiction. The prevalence of opioid prescriptions is still extremely high when compared to historical levels or with other countries. Moreover, despite a recent spike in MAT participation, the vast majority of individuals struggling with opioid addiction are still not receiving the comprehensive care they need.
View the original IQVIA report here: https://www.iqvia.com/institute/reports/medicine-use-and-spending-in-the-us-review-of-2017-outlook-to-2022
Behavioral Health Group (BHG) is committed to removing barriers to treatment and providing the best possible care for those struggling with opioid addiction. We understand that opioid addiction is a chronic brain disease, not a moral failure. BHG provides comprehensive treatment for opioid addiction with over 40 locations across 11 states. We are especially excited for the opportunity to participate in grant programs at our Louisiana, Alabama, North Carolina and Kansas treatment centers. These grant programs allow qualified individuals to receive treatment at no cost.