Itasca, IL – In a newly released report, National Safety Council research shows just 13 states and Washington, D.C., have implemented comprehensive, proven actions to eliminate opioid overdoses and help protect their residents. In Prescription Nation, a digest analyzing how states are tackling the worst drug crisis in recorded U.S. history, the Council assigned its highest mark of “Improving” to Arizona, Connecticut, Delaware, Washington, D.C., Georgia, Michigan, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Mexico, North Carolina, Ohio, Rhode Island, Virginia and West Virginia.
The eight states receiving a “Failing” mark – Arkansas, Iowa, Kansas, Missouri, Montana, North Dakota, Oregon and Wyoming – are taking just one or two of the six key actions identified in the report as critical and life-saving.
“While we see some states improving, we still have too many that need to wake up to this crisis,” said NSC President and CEO Deborah A.P. Hersman. “For the last five years, the Council has released Prescription Nation reports to provide a roadmap for saving lives across the country. We hope states adopt the recommended actions laid out here so we can eliminate preventable opioid deaths and stop an everyday killer.”
Some states have improved significantly since the 2016 iteration of Prescription Nation. Arizona, Connecticut, Georgia, Michigan, Nevada, Virginia and Washington, D.C. raised their marks from “Failing” to “Improving.” Other states, however, have plateaued. Kentucky, Tennessee and Vermont received the highest mark in 2016 but now have “Lagging” ratings, based on updated benchmarks.
After comprehensive evaluations of data and prevention strategies, NSC identified the following six key actions that could have immediate and sustained impact addressing the opioid epidemic. Those actions, and the number of states taking them, are:
- Mandating prescriber education (34 states and D.C.)
- Implementing opioid prescribing guidelines (33 states and D.C.)
- Integrating Prescription Drug Monitoring Programs into clinical settings (39 states and D.C.)
- Improving data collection and sharing (seven states)
- Treating opioid overdose (37 states and D.C.)
- Increasing availability of opioid use disorder treatment (36 states and D.C.)
NSC is releasing the report at the National Rx Drug and Heroin Summit in Atlanta, in front of the Council’s Prescribed to Death Memorial to the victims of the opioid crisis. The memorial is on its second leg of a nationwide tour and is visiting Atlanta, thanks in part to generous donations from Walgreens and Stericycle, both headquartered in the Chicago area. Visit stopeverydaykillers.org for more information about the Prescribed to Death Memorial and the Council’s Stop Everyday Killers campaign.
Visit Prescription Nation: Facing America’s Opioid Epidemic for the full report.