A Focus on the Opioid Crisis that Ravaged America

Abimbola Farinde,PharmD.,MS | 10/13/2020, 9:15 a.m.

With the growing awareness of the crisis of the opioid epidemic in our society, impactful measures are being implemented to curtail the growth of this phenomenon that has been linked to numerous overdoses, associated infections, and at unintentional deaths. According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention in 2015, the number of deaths associated with illicit opioid use increased substantially in comparison to the previous years. Hospitals, clinics, and pharmacies have also experienced the effects of the rise in opioid abuse across this nation, and there is the growing desire from all three areas to assist with addiction prevention and increasing access to opioid misuse and addiction care. Historically, many communities have been devastated by the number of unintentional overdoses related to the current opioid epidemic and this has serve as the catalyst for stage for a drastic change to occur. In an effort to address the alarming rate at which opioids are being abused across America, a handful of health insurers have started to remove the requirement for prior authorization for opioid treatment and care.

While evaluating for the clinical appropriateness of this treatment is important, this process can sometimes hinder or prevent treatment for those that truly require the immediate intervention. The intended goal of this measure is to increase the likelihood of access to medication assisted therapy for opioid addiction, and this has the potential to assist many individuals who abuse opioids who are entering treatment for the first time. For those that have experienced a delay in access to this evidence-based care, this can mean continued use of opioid, which if left untreated can lead to untimely deaths. The removal of the prior authorization requirement for opioid addiction treatment can hopefully be seen as the first step in a series of steps that are designed to control the rise of the opioid use in America. The thought of opioids invading the fabric of American life was not foreseen by many but now that this is a part of life, steps are gradually being taken to remedy this issue for prevent the chances of resurgence.