28 States Fail to Protect Their Residents from the Opioid Crisis, says NSC

28 States Fail to Protect Their Residents from the Opioid Crisis, says NSC

Only four states are making notable progress toward saving lives, according to alarming new report.

​Itasca, IL – In a startling report released June 23, National Safety Council research shows 28 states are failing their residents by lacking a comprehensive, proven plan to eliminate prescription opioid overdoses. Prescription Nation, a definitive ranking of how states are tackling the worst drug crisis in recorded U.S. history, assigned a "Making Progress" rating to only four states – Kentucky, New Mexico, Tennessee and Vermont. Of the 28 failing states, three – Michigan, Missouri and Nebraska – do not have a single strategy in place to save lives.

The report comes during National Safety Month and on the heels of the Council's analysis showing preventable deaths are at an all-time high, and the increase is being driven by opioid overdoses.

"We are losing nearly 19,000 people every year to prescription opioid overdoses, and the cost of this epidemic is too high for states to watch from the sidelines," said Deborah A.P. Hersman, president and CEO of the National Safety Council. "Prescription Nation provides a roadmap for saving lives, and identifies six key actions that can eliminate preventable deaths."

Saving lives in each state requires coordination between the medical community, public health professionals, substance abuse treatment professionals, lawmakers, advocates and pharmacists. After exhaustive evaluations of the data and research into prevention strategies, the National Safety Council identified six key actions, or indicators, that could have immediate and sustained impact. States were ranked based on their efforts in the six key areas.

The six key indicators, and the number of states that have addressed them, are:

  1. Requiring continued medical education for prescribers (17 states)
  2. Adopting opioid prescribing guidelines (22 states)
  3. Passing legislation that eliminates "pill mills" (12 states)
  4. Expanding use of Prescription Drug Monitoring Programs  (40 states)
  5. Allowing naloxone to be prescribed with a standing order (35 states)
  6. Closing the treatment gap by increasing access to buprenorphine (3 states)

The most significant collective problem is the lack of treatment options. Only Maine, New Mexico and Vermont have the resources needed to treat the number of residents suffering from opioid use disorders.

Visit nsc.org/rxnation for the full report.


About the National Safety Council

Founded in 1913 and chartered by Congress, the National Safety Council, nsc.org, is a nonprofit organization whose mission is to save lives by preventing injuries and deaths at work, in homes and communities, and on the road through leadership, research, education and advocacy. NSC advances this mission by partnering with businesses, government agencies, elected officials and the public in areas where we can make the most impact – distracted driving, teen driving, workplace safety, prescription drug overdoses and Safe Communities.

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