Opioid addiction is now viewed as a national epidemic. Addressing this issue, Congress has passed the Comprehensive Addition and Recovery Act and the 21st Century Cures bill, which included $1 billion in state grants to fight opioid abuse. Many articles in the media have focused on what is being done wrong: the restricted access to less addictive painkillers, the prevalence of opioid prescriptions, and the required prior approval by the insurance industry for more expensive non-addictive medications. The reliance on insurers to make decisions about the type of medications available to patients means that some insurance policies deny payment for less addictive opioid and non-opioid painkillers. In some cases, patients are required to try the less-expensive drugs first. There is beginning to be an effort to encourage people with chronic pain to learn about non-drug treatments, such as physical therapy, acupuncture, chiropractic, and yoga.
ISSUE: What can be done to reduce pain without the use of addictive medications?
AHHA strives to maintain a neutral position on issues and views knowledge as power. For those interested in this month’s issue, the related articles were selected to serve as a foundation for researching this entire matter.
Amid Opioid Crisis, Insurers Restrict Pricey, Less Addictive Painkillers (9/17/17)
by Katie Thomas and Charles Ornstein
The New York Times
Many Insurance Plans Cover Opioid Painkillers But Restrict Access To Less-Addictive Drugs (9/18/17)
by Chris Morran
Senator Calls on Insurers to Improve Access to Non-Opioid Pain Treatments (9/26/17)
by Charles Ornstein
Fighting pain without drugs (10/14/17)
by Elizabeth Bloomfield
Mississippi Attorney General joins nationwide effort to push opioid alternatives (9/20/17)
by Therese Apel
Pressure on insurance companies to consider role in opioid crisis (10/22/17)
by Charles Ornstein
The Connecticut Mirror
States ask insurers to prioritize non-opioid pain treatment (8/18/17)
by The Associated Press
Washington’s Top News
Pain Experts Push for Coverage of Alternative Therapies (10/24/17)
by Pauline Anderson
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