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Legislator Toolkit: Sources for Strengthening Households and Communities: Bettering Entry to Therapy for Substance Use Issues

This toolkit is meant to assist state legislators (and others) considering addressing the opioid epidemic within the U.S. The toolkit was collectively developed by HealthyWomen and the Authorized Motion Middle and is partially primarily based upon a presentation we made at a Ladies in Authorities Convention in June 2018.

The opioid epidemic has many elements and causes. To handle it requires a number of approaches and collaborations. Every area, state and group should contemplate its personal state of affairs in creating and implementing plans and actions. This instrument package is meant to assist these efforts; the instrument package is organized into the next sections:

Dispelling Stigma
Entry to Therapy
Information to Focus Efforts
Making certain Satisfactory Ache Administration

For views on the opioid epidemic from HealthyWomen and the Authorized Motion Middle, these hyperlinks supply a broad vary of data:

HealthyWomen’s Coverage Middle web page about Opioids Use Dysfunction & Therapy

Authorized Motion Middle 2015 Report: “Confronting an Epidemic: The Case for Eliminating Limitations to Treatment-Assisted Therapy of Heroin and Opioid Dependancy”

For extra data or so as to add sources, contact us: [email protected]

Dispelling Stigma

Dispelling the stigma of opioid use dysfunction (OUD) is a main motion for confronting a group’s issues arising from the opioid epidemic. Understanding and speaking that OUD is a medical situation, like diabetes or despair, is a primary step in the direction of complete and built-in options that embrace medical, social and authorized elements. Such built-in approaches can result in actual progress for people, households and communities. Like most illnesses, OUD impacts all populations and communities. Its extensive influence should even be acknowledged as a part of the method of dispelling the stigma and misconceptions about OUD.

Confront the stigma and misconceptions of OUD:

  1. Confer with OUD as a medical situation or illness slightly than casting it as any kind of private or ethical failing or weak spot. (Telling tales about totally different people and the way they skilled OUD may help make that time.)
  2. Keep away from the phrases “addict” or “habit.”
  3. Examine OUD to different illnesses corresponding to diabetes, despair or arthritis – all of that are organic situations that may be handled medically, as can OUD.

Sources to assist dispel the stigma of OUD:

Entry to Therapy

Entry to Therapy for OUD is a serious barrier in lots of communities. Lack of entry to remedy for OUD leaves individuals and communities with fewer alternatives for stopping or overcoming the influence of OUD, corresponding to:

  1. An infection with illnesses corresponding to HIV or hepatitis C and demise
  2. Workforce and financial issues as a result of individuals who can’t get handled for OUD might not be capable to discover or maintain jobs
  3. Strains on native regulation enforcement, first responders, and emergency medical companies.

Increasing entry to remedy typically is a main objective for a lot of communities. Doing so requires recognizing that there are profitable remedy choices for OUD that permits individuals to work and dwell regular lives whereas managing their OUD.

Growing entry to OUD remedy embrace:

  • Working to cut back boundaries for clinicians to offer treatment assisted remedy (MAT) by eradicating rules that restrict the variety of sufferers they serve, selling care coordination fashions corresponding to “hub and spoke” and different actions that make it simpler for sufferers to see certified clinicians and for these clinicians to deal with extra sufferers.
  • Growing reimbursement for clinicians to offer remedy for OUD.
  • Increasing funding for public well being entry factors for MAT.
  • Implementing current legal guidelines and rules that require remedy parity between psychological well being and substance use problems and different power sicknesses.
  • Selling coordination throughout authorities and personal sector teams concerned in well being care, public well being, first responders and the judicial system Therapy for OUD is more practical and cheaper than incarceration, e.g., $4,000 versus $23,000 per yr based on a 2011 research.

Sources to assist clarify the worth of remedy for OUD and easy methods to enhance entry:


Affordability may also be a serious OUD remedy barrier for sufferers. As with different severe medical issues like diabetes and despair, excessive co-payments or deductibles can create monetary hurdles stopping individuals from getting remedy for his or her OUD, which implies they’re primarily denied remedy.

Addressing affordability boundaries for individuals with OUD contains:

  1. Making certain the state’s Medicaid program and the medical insurance for state workers covers OUD therapies with minimal cost-sharing.
  2. Implementing state legal guidelines that require all insurance coverage – together with short-term well being plans – to cowl therapies for OUD, and for that insurance coverage to have parity in protection and affordability with therapies for different situations.
  3. Confronting the stigma of OUD to assist people to hunt remedy and encourage employers to rent individuals with OUD who’re in remedy.
  4. Selling cooperation and programmatic alignment amongst corrections and habit remedy suppliers to enhance well being outcomes and cut back prices.

Sources to enhance affordability of remedy for OUD:

to Focus Efforts

Information to Focus Efforts is Important. Information helps focus and information the deployment of sources for remedy packages, public well being and first responders – significantly associated to outbreaks of recent and probably lethal types of opioids corresponding to unlawful fentanyl. Information can also be vital for figuring out if remedy packages and different initiatives are efficient and producing the specified outcomes.

Addressing easy methods to enhance the supply and use of information contains:

  1. Extra sturdy use of Prescription Drug Monitoring Applications (PDMPs). (The precise actions will depend on current state legal guidelines and rules associated to PDMPs)
  2. Legislators ought to use knowledge on opioid misuse and overdoses to tell funding priorities and different resolution making.
  3. Constant knowledge reporting must be inspired by health workers, hospitals, and first responders. Information must be quickly collected and analyzed to allow public well being and others to reply appropriately to the opioid epidemic in every group.

Sources for creating and utilizing knowledge to handle opioid issues in a group:


Collaborations amongst authorities companies and personal organizations is vital for complete group and regional responses to the opioid epidemic.

Areas for bettering collaboration and coordination associated to OUD embrace:

  • Coordinate PDMPs
    • State legislators can work with their governors and Federal colleagues to assist efforts to cease the inflow of unlawful opioids. The inflow of unlawful opioids into the U.S. from different nations is exacerbating our opioid epidemic, with the disaster now being pushed in lots of locations by heroin, fentanyl and different opioids manufactured in different nations and shipped into the U.S. These unlawful opioids could be made into capsules that appears like authentic prescription medicines however could also be rather more potent and thus extra harmful.
    • Legislators can also work with their colleagues in adjoining states or their area to coordinate and assist their knowledge assortment and evaluation efforts by linking to PDMPs. Coordination or linking of PDMPs permits physicians and pharmacists to test if a affected person has lately acquired an opioid prescription from one other doctor or pharmacy. States also can evaluate or revise the necessities for the way clinicians and pharmacies use PDMPs earlier than writing a prescription for an opioid or meting out the medication to the affected person.

Sources about collaborating on bettering entry to remedy, affordability, knowledge and different avenues for coordinating packages to assist higher remedy for OUD and responses to the opioid epidemic:

Making certain
Satisfactory Ache Administration

Making certain ample ache administration for sufferers (for people with and with out OUD), wants thought-about, since well-intentioned approaches to the opioid epidemic might limit entry to prescription opioids. These unintended restrictions may go away individuals with terminal sicknesses (corresponding to most cancers), and people with power ache situations, with out correct ache administration. A part of the answer for these people is selling higher built-in and multi-modal ache administration approaches that each makes use of opioid medicines (when applicable). Therapies which were proven to achieve success, corresponding to cognitive behavioral remedy (CBT), bodily remedy, acupuncture and different non-pharmacological remedy, should even be thought-about.

Exploring how to make sure entry to ample ache therapies is past the scope of this toolkit, however hyperlinks to some sources are offered beneath, and group leaders ought to seek the advice of with their native specialists as they develop plans and implement initiatives to handle the opioid epidemic.

Sources about making certain ample ache therapies embrace:

​Further Sources

Further sources and background data for group and legislative leaders to fight the opioid epidemic and enhance remedy for OUD embrace:



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