The COVID-19 crisis is taking a heavy toll on all Americans. The crisis is also exacerbating other challenges that we had been grappling with before the pandemic hit – especially for those struggling with substance use disorder.
In fact, because of the added stress of the current pandemic, opioid-related overdose deaths in the United States are on the rise for the first time in three years. Now, with states beginning to reopen and elective surgeries beginning to be rescheduled, we fear that the current pandemic could usher in a new wave of opioid abuse and exacerbate the current opioid addiction epidemic.
Many elective surgeries are associated with high rates of opioid prescribing – some patients receive over 100 pills after surgery. Unsurprisingly, millions of Americans become newly persistent opioid users following a procedure.
To combat this, Voices believes that we can prevent opioid addiction before it starts for some. By incentivizing the use of non-opioid pain management strategies, we can offer health care providers and their patients better access to a wide range of FDA-approved opioid alternatives.
Members of Congress agree that more can – and must – be done to decrease rates of opioid prescribing in the country. In fact, legislation is currently pending in Congress that was introduced by Senators Capito (R-WV) and Jones (D-AL) and Representatives Sewell (D-AL) and McKinley (R-WV) to fully and appropriately incentivize the utilization of the wide-array of available, medically appropriate, non-opioid pain management approaches for acute pain patients.
The legislation – the Non-Opioids Prevent Addiction in the Nation (NOPAIN) Act – would address outdated reimbursement policies that inhibit utilization of non-opioid pain management approaches and make them available to the tens of millions of Americans who undergo an outpatient surgical procedure every year.
Please join us in encouraging additional support for this groundbreaking legislation. Members of Congress need to hear from their constituents on this important matter, so please weigh in!
To add your voice, simply visit https://www.nonopioidchoices.org/action-center/ And have your voice heard!