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Thirteen states and the District of Columbia have implemented comprehensive programs to eliminate opioid overdoses and help protect their residents, according to a study released Monday by the National Safety Council.
The Itasca, Illinois-based organization studied how well states were tackling the opioid epidemic, looking at six areas of improvement in policies, including: mandating prescriber education, implementing opioid prescribing guidelines, integrating prescription drug monitoring programs into clinical settings, improving data collection and sharing, treating opioid overdose, and increasing availability of opioid use disorder treatment.
The council assigned its highest mark of “improving” to Arizona, Connecticut, Delaware, the District of Columbia, Georgia, Michigan, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Mexico, North Carolina, Ohio, Rhode Island, Virginia and West Virginia.
Eight states received a “failing” mark: Arkansas, Iowa, Kansas, Missouri, Montana, North Dakota, Oregon and Wyoming. Those states were found to be “taking just one or two of the six key actions identified in the report as critical and life-saving,” according to a press release.
The report shows that states are making progress with prescription-drug monitoring programs but are lagging in data sharing — 40 states monitor prescriptions, but only seven share their data. In all, the report shows how 29 states are lagging in improvements since the council’s last study in 2017.
“While we see some states improving, we still have too many that need to wake up to this crisis,” said Deborah A.P. Hersman, president and CEO of the National Safety Council, in a statement. “We hope states adopt the recommended actions laid out here so we can eliminate preventable opioid deaths and stop an everyday killer.”
Buried deep in President Donald Trump’s strategy for managing the opioid crisis is a proposal to create a national prescription drug monitoring program — a database that would cross state lines and limit access to medications for people who live close to interstate borders.