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:
- Requiring continued medical education for prescribers
- Adopting opioid prescribing guidelines
- Passing legislation that eliminates pill mills
- Expanding use of Prescription Drug Monitoring Programs (PDMPs)
- 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
- 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:
- Michigan (0)
- Missouri (0)
- Nebraska (0)
- Alaska (1)
- Hawaii (1)
- Idaho (1)
- Kansas (1)
- Montana (1), and
- 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:
- New Mexico
- Tennessee, and
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.