All Levels of Government Working Together to Combat the Opioid Crisis
By Suzie Hogan, NYSAC Communications InternWhile counties have been on the forefront of the battle against the opioid addiction crisis, governments at all levels are working to stem the tide of overdoses. Below are some of the resources that governments and associations have made available to raise awareness and boost prevention efforts across the state and nation.
Each county has created programs to help combat the crisis in their communities. These programs are designed to provide education aimed at improving prevention, increasing access to treatment, expanding recovery options and expanding resources for law enforcement.
Last year, the New York State Association of Counties (NYSAC) was honored at the 2018 Capital Region MARCOM Awards competition for the See the Signs, Save a Life campaign ad. The ad campaign was created in partnership with the New York State Association of Coroners and Medical Examiners. Learn more at http://ny.seethesignssavealife.org/.
NYSAC has a section of its website with additional resources at www.nysac.org/opioids.
The National Association of Counties (NACo) has an Opioid Epidemic Resource Center that includes a comprehensive report created in conjunction with the National League of Cities. The website www.naco.org/resources/opioid-epidemic-action-center includes a range of data and resources.
At the federal level, The Center for Disease Control (CDC) has put together a website (https://www.cdc.gov/drugoverdose/) designed to raise awareness and promote prevention. According to the CDC, “Drug overdose deaths continue to increase in the United States. From 1999 to 2017, more than 702,000 people have died from a drug overdose. In 2017, more than 70,000 people died from drug overdoses, making it a leading cause of injury-related death in the United States. Of those deaths, almost 68% involved a prescription or illicit opioid.)
The US Department of Justice also has a page devoted to Opioid Awareness and Prevention at https://www.justice.gov/opioidawareness. According to the DOJ, “at least 78 people each day will die from an opioid-related overdose.”
At the state level, New York State is one of the leading states in providing and implementing programs for opioid and heroin addiction and overdoses. According to NYSDOH, “Staff of the Office of National Drug Control Policy (ONDCP) inquired about using New York's police training as a model for other states.”
This summer, the NYS Department of Health launched the New York State Opioid Data Dashboard, which provides a series of datapoints that can help educate policy-makers and local prevention specialists understand and address the epidemic. The site includes a quarterly report which provides opioid overdose information (deaths, emergency department (ED) visits, and hospitalizations) by county.
According to NYS Department of Health, “The dashboard improves timely opioid overdose reporting, supports statewide prevention efforts, and serves as a valuable tool for planning, identifying where communities are struggling, helping communities tailor interventions, and showing improvements.” The dashboard includes links on how to become a registered Opioid Overdose Prevention Program, as well an easy guide on how to find these programs in your area, free online training for pharmacists, and an extensive list of all the places in each county that provide medicine to help eliminate overdose deaths.
I-Stop is Tracking Opioid Prescriptions
In 2012, a new program called I-STOP was created and implemented across the state to ensure all controlled substance prescriptions are sent electronically by doctors to track patient's history of prescriptions. The I-Stop program helps ensure patients are not going to multiple doctors or pharmacies to keep obtaining controlled substances. It has resulted in a 90% decrease in these scenarios happening by 2015.
Two workshops on the opioid crisis in our counties will be offered at NYSAC's Fall Seminar next week - find the details at www.nysac.org/FallSeminar.