In Idaho and nationwide, the opioid epidemic remains as present as ever. In the 12 months ending in February 2021, nearly 280 Idahoans died of a drug overdose, more than an 8% increase from the previous year. Three-quarters of these deaths are attributed to opioids.
During my work in a state-level behavioral health agency, I saw the devastating effects of substance abuse. That’s why I’ve supported prescription drug monitoring programs and reform in the way physicians and dentists prescribe treatments for managing pain. I hope to help bring further legislation to improve consumer education and monitoring of potential drug abuse, specifically the use of opioids. But I also know that curtailing America’s opioid epidemic will require national change. Fortunately, this issue has gotten the attention of Congress.
The Non-Opioids Prevent Addiction in the Nation Act was introduced in the U.S. Senate and House of Representatives. The bill would increase access to non-opioid pain management options by updating reimbursement protocols to incentivize the use of these types of treatment — without reducing access to opioids when medically necessary.
This legislation can potentially stop opioid addiction before it begins. As we observe National Substance Abuse Prevention Month in October, I urge Sens. Mike Crapo and Jim Risch and the entire Idaho congressional delegation to support this legislation. The health of Idahoans and the country depends on it.
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