Alabama prescribes more opioid pain killers than any other state in the country, doling out more prescriptions in the for the deadly pills than there are people in the state to take them, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Alabama released a statement this week saying it was taking action to help address the problem in Alabama.
According to a new national report focused on the opioid epidemic and its effects on commercially insured Americans, a quarter of Alabama’s commercially insured members filled at least one opioid prescription in 2015 compared to 21 percent nationally.
The highest rates of long-duration prescription opioid use were seen in the South and the Appalachian region. About twice as many Alabama members – 6.5 percent – were on a long-duration opioid regimen in 2015 compared to the national average of 3.8 percent.
Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Alabama said it was taking action to prevent opioid misuse by partnering with local and state agencies to raise public awareness and educate the public about opioid risks; by supporting appropriate prescribing of the powerful painkillers for pain management through CDC treatment guidelines for primary care physicians and offering medication-assisted treatment options for members with opioid use disorder; and by encouraging and supporting public outreach initiatives to prevention prescription opioid miuse, abuse, fraud and diversion.
“We recognize that it’s crucial for us to be a proactive partner in the fight against the opioid epidemic in Alabama,” said Dr. Anne Schmidt, Medical Director for Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Alabama. “We strongly support best practices and are collaborating with primary care doctors to appropriately apply recommendations and guidelines from the CDC.”
Source: BCBS Alabama