Pew Research Shares Updated Overdose Prevention Strategies

New Pew Research comes out ahead of November 1st deadline for Opioid Restitution Fund Advisory Council annual recommendations for opioid settlement funds. 

pill bottle on its side with three pills in the foregroundAs the Opioid Operational Command Center (OOCC) continues the Town Halls tour to all 24 jurisdictions, Pew Research has published an updated list of ten major priorities for funding. The study authors encourage the adoption of some of the ten priorities with three guiding principles for states to enhance their ability to provide treatment for individuals found to have a substance use disorder (SUD).

Those principles are:

  • leveraging existing federal funding streams and opioid settlement dollars intended to address the overdose crisis
  • addressing existing state policies that limit patient access to care; and
  • providing incentives to health care providers to deliver quality care in under-resourced communities

Last session MACo weighed in on a number of health bills and particularly ones that would help public health officials stymie the dangerous insurgence of even stronger illicit opioids in circulation. HB 571 is one bill that MACo supported and it passed. This is the kind of legislation that allows local health departments and county run overdose prevention programs to keep up with the crisis as it evolves. Essentially, it gave local health departments and programs the ability to choose their preferred formulation or dosage of overdose reversal drugs. This is a specific priority as new drugs that have entered the illicit market are, in some instances, strong enough to resist the effect of overdose reversal drugs in their original dosages.

At the state level the Behavioral Health Administration, Maryland Department of Health, and the OOCC have also been making efforts to collaborate with locals in the recent Town Halls, but also by leaning on the insights of the Opioid Restitution Fund (ORF) Advisory Council. This legislatively appointed council is tasked with updating recommendations for the ORF by November 1st of each year. In another month stakeholders will have a chance to see how the 2023 recommendations line up with national research like Pew and other entities.

The ten priorities released this month by Pew:

  • Use Medicaid funds strategically to expand and sustain access to evidence-based substance use prevention, treatment, and recovery support services.
  • Direct flexible federal funds—to the fullest extent allowable—toward boosting infrastructure, prevention, harm reduction, and recovery support services.
  • Conduct an inclusive decision-making process for allocating opioid settlement funds and prioritize funds for investments in services and infrastructure needs not covered by Medicaid or other state/federal funding streams.
  • Incentivize and support “no wrong door” approaches to substance use care, treatment, and support services.
  • Ensure that patients are placed in the most appropriate level of care, including nonresidential, community-based substance use treatment and recovery support services.
  • Address substance use treatment disparities for historically marginalized groups and communities.
  • Advance equitable access and outcomes for substance use care, treatment, and recovery support services among populations with multiple system involvement.
  • Use data to drive effective, equitable care and outcomes.
  • Require specialty substance use treatment providers to offer evidence-based treatments, particularly medications for opioid use disorder.
  • Bolster the substance use prevention, treatment, and recovery support service network for children and youth.