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Turning the corner on the opioid epidemic: What are the best next steps?

For all the public attention, policy interventions and community action that have been applied to address the opioid crisis, the nation continues to struggle through a staggering epidemic. Though new prescriptions for opioids are down dramatically, new diagnoses of opioid dependence are up. So are emergency room visits related to opioid overdoses and, sadly, so are deaths.  According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, on average, 130 Americans die every day from an opioid overdose.

Federal and state governments, health plans, medical practitioners, pharmacists and community organizations have all mobilized to find solutions to an epidemic that has ruined lives, fundamentally altered communities and strained government institutions.

There is still much work that needs to be done if we are to turn the corner on the opioid epidemic. 

As health care partners to one in three Americans, Blue Cross and Blue Shield (BCBS) companies are committed to fighting this epidemic and have been addressing the crisis, community by community, since long before this public health threat became a national headline. We know firsthand the devastating toll opioids and addiction can have in those communities.

As lawmakers and regulators continue to seek solutions, the Blue Cross Blue Shield Association developed a new set of recommendations, “Turning the Corner: Recommendations for the Next Steps to Curb the Opioid Crisis,” which builds on steps that have already been taken by Congress and many states to reduce the incidence of opioid use disorder (OUD), overdose and death.

Read the recommendations here.


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