HHS is awarding $485 million to states to combat opioid epidemic
Written by Lucas Kibby, CleanFleet
The National Council on Compensation Insurance (NCCI) found that prescription costs per claim are continuing to rise in the U.S., with an alarming 25 percent of costs attributed specifically to prescription opioids.
In March, President Trump called opioid abuse “a total epidemic,” and issued an executive order creating a commission focused on combating the opioid crisis.
Now, the Health and Human Services (HHS) is providing $485 million in grants to states and U.S. territories. The funding, which is the first of two rounds provided for in the 21st Century Cures Act, will be provided through the State Targeted Response to the Opioid Crisis Grants administered by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), according to the HHS Press Office.
Secretary Price wrote in a letter to governors, “opioids were responsible for over 33,000 deaths in 2015; this alarming statistic is unacceptable to me. We cannot continue to lose our nation’s citizens to addiction. Through a sustained focus on people, patients, and partnerships, I am confident that together we can turn the tide on this public health crisis.”
Now, Secretary Price is touring communities that have been hit especially hard by painkiller and heroin overdoses and is trying learn from local communities. What are their best practices? What kinds of things are they doing that are working to solve this crisis?
Breakdown of awarded money to various states to help fight the opioid epidemic
The money will support a wide variety of prevention, treatment, and recovery services depending each state and territory needs. The amount awarded for each state is based on rates of overdose deaths and unmet need for opioid addiction treatment.
Vermont, which just passed a recreational marijuana bill through the state’s House and Senate, will receive $2 million while the West coast states will receive over $60,000 to combat the opioid addiction.
What can companies do to stay ahead of the opioid epidemic in the workplace?
Combating potential prescription opioid abuse in the workplace involves, but is not limited to the following prevention strategies:
- Educate employees about responsible prescription opioid use. When used responsibly, opioids are potentially an effective tool to mask acute pain for the worker. It’s also important to educate workers about the potency of these drugs, how they work, how they interact with other drugs and how they can become addictive.
- Understanding and communicating the risk factors for opioid abuse is vital for prevention in the manufacturing industry. Employees should learn about doctor shopping, physician dispensing and other risk factors supported by evidence.
- Provide support and safe return to work to injured employees. If a worker is injured, it is important to provide strong social support from fellow workers, especially the immediate supervisor, and management so that they may safely return to work. The most important person in returning an employee back to work is the immediate supervisor. A strong social support system can help the worker and prevent any further injury to themselves or others.
- Communicate treatment options. If treatment is necessary, it is important to educate the worker on options, including counseling and pharmaceutical treatment. Drug addiction is a brain disease that can be treated effectively.
- Reasonable Suspicion Training is a tool for your company’s workforce leaders to determine if and/or when an employee may be impaired and then know the necessary steps to take to protect your company and the employee as it relates to specific company drug and alcohol policy compliance and safety, including painkillers in the workplace.
The training will include the physical, behavioral, speech, and performance indicators of alcohol misuse and use of controlled substances. This class is REQUIRED for DOT and highly valuable for companies not Federally regulated, learn more today.