Safety and OSHA News

Top 9 states that are least prepared to handle opioid crisis

Which nine states are least prepared to deal with the opioid crisis? The National Safety Council has a new list. 

The NSC used six key indicators to measure which states have taken steps to counteract the opioid crisis in its report, Prescription Nation:

  1. Requiring continued medical education for prescribers
  2. Adopting opioid prescribing guidelines
  3. Passing legislation that eliminates pill mills
  4. Expanding use of Prescription Drug Monitoring Programs (PDMPs)
  5. Allowing naloxone which blocks or reverses the effects of opioid medication to be prescribed with a standing order (a physician’s order that can be carried out by other healthcare workers when predetermined conditions have been met), and
  6. Closing the treatment gap by increasing access to buprenorphine which is used to treat opioid addiction.

No states have met all six measures.

Three states have met none of the measures, and another six states (plus the District of Columbia) have met only one:

  1. Michigan (0)
  2. Missouri (0)
  3. Nebraska (0)
  4. Alaska (1)
  5. Hawaii (1)
  6. Idaho (1)
  7. Kansas (1)
  8. Montana (1), and
  9. Wyoming (1).

Another 15 states meet only two measures for a total of 28 (including D.C.) which the NSC puts in the “failing” category. Some large population states are in this group, including Florida, Georgia, Illinois and New York.

Four states have met five out of six measures:

  1. Kentucky
  2. New Mexico
  3. Tennessee, and
  4. Vermont.

The two most common measures taken are expanded use of PDMPs (40 states) and allowing naloxone to be prescribed with a standing order (35 states).

The NSC says the most significant collective problem is the lack of treatment options. Only Maine, New Mexico and Vermont have the resources needed to treat the number of residents suffering from opioid-use disorders, according to the NSC.

“We are losing nearly 19,000 people every year to prescription opioid overdoses, and the cost of this epidemic is too high for states to watch from the sidelines,” said Deborah Hersman, president and CEO of the NSC.

The vicious prescription painkiller cycle that impacts workplace safety often includes this scenario: An employee is injured at work, resulting in chronic pain. A doctor prescribes an opioid painkiller when the employee “needs to work through the pain.” The employee becomes addicted to the painkiller because the med wasn’t meant to be consumed on a long-term basis. Addicted employees cause yet another hazard in the workplace.

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  1. Berton Toews says:

    Your data is in error for Wyoming. Criteria 1 and 4 are most definitely met, and Criterion 2 may be: while not a formal guideline, the Wyoming Board of Medicine publishes a “toolkit” recommended for use in opioid prescribing. We certainly have more to do, but Wyoming has a very active group (Wyoming Rx Abuse Stakeholders) of physicians, regulators, board members, law enforcement officers, and citizens working on the issue. We are a one-party state, and much is lacking in terms of legislative sensitivity to the topic (but who knows, Trump’s divisiveness may well stir up some diversity here as well!).

  2. JOHN SANDHERR says:

    Addiction is a real threat but when our country has taken it to the point that mandates states to legislate the use of opiates then they have gone too far. What do states do for: smoking, alcohol, texting and driving, suicide, obesity, hospital error ( claims over 200,000 deaths per year ), use of Tylenol, Motrin, driving, guns, poison, the list is without end. So what makes Opiates so bad that states need to take control of a patients medication ? Our government is out of control and now medical marijuana ( I’m all for it ) is now becoming the go to medication for chronic pain when 20 years ago our government said Pot fried our brain. See where I’m going. There are now Hedge Funds for addiction and when pain patients no longer have pain medication they will be labeled addicts – the Fund will sky-rocket to 35 Billion dollars. Its about money not addicts or mandates its just MONEY

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