On Feb. 2, Obama unveiled a $1.1 billion funding proposal to help states fight the growing tide of drug abuse. The proposal includes $1 billion in new mandatory funding over two years to expand treatment access for substance abusers. More than 90 percent of the $1 billion will support cooperative agreements with states to expand medication-assisted treatment options or to make already existing services more affordable. Federal funding will be allocated to states based on the severity of the crisis and the feasibility of the states’ plans for responding to it.

In 2014, overdose deaths numbered 47,055, approximately one and a half times as many deaths as from motor vehicle crashes, according to data released by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in December 2015. For the nation, the 2014 death rate from drug overdoses is significantly higher than the rate in 2013 and since 2000 has more than doubled.

Naloxone is a very effective and safe substance to reduce the effects of opioid drug overdose and prevent deaths. Overdose deaths more than doubled between 1999 and 2010. In 2010, deaths from both prescription drug and illicit drug overdoses surpassed traffic accidents as the number one cause of death for persons less than 65 years old. States essentially use two policy options to increase access to naloxone. A small minority of states allow naloxone sales by a pharmacy without a prescription. A majority of states allow pharmacists to dispense naloxone under a standing order from a licensed medical professional.

#1  Medicaid Expansion

Thirty states and the District of Columbia have expanded Medicaid eligibility to 138 percent of the federal poverty level as allowed by the Affordable Care Act, and they will be required to contribute matching funds beginning Jan. 1, 2017. This means that legislatures in those states will have to appropriate state funds during their budget sessions in 2016.  

The federal funding will decrease from covering 100 percent of the newly eligible...

CSG Director of Health Policy Debra Miller outlines the top five issues in health policy for 2016, including Medicaid expansion, substance abuse and drug overdoses, cost containment, the graying of America, and population health. 

As states move to crack down on the scourge of drug abuse, they must consider evidence-based policy strategies to control drug diversion and abuse and avoid the unintended consequence of increased heroin use. This session explored the current state of drug abuse in the states, how new policies, programs and products can address prescription opioid drug abuse, as well as the challenge of treating the legitimate needs of 100 million Americans estimated to suffer from chronic pain.

Recent reports from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reveal a significant increase in the use of heroin in the United States between 2002 and 2013, and the increased use of the drug spans across gender, age and income categories. The rate of death from a heroin overdose has nearly quadrupled over the same period of time; in 2013 alone, more than 8,200 people died from a heroin overdose. This webinar from the Southern Legislative Conference examines the policy options for lawmakers, recent legislative action in Kentucky to address the growing epidemic and efforts being undertaken by law enforcement in the SLC states to remove heroin from the streets.

In health, states increasingly look to prevention and early intervention as ways to provide better health outcomes and to reduce health costs. Models of mental health care reform also are moving toward a complete behavioral health system with the goal of providing patients with early access to treatment.

CSG Midwest
Across the country, communities are dealing with an epidemic of drug abuse and overdoses. And nowhere is this health crisis more pronounced than in the Midwest: Between 2008 and 2013, the number of heroin-related overdose deaths in this region increased sixfold.

Twenty-two state legislators and one governor's health policy advisor from states gathered in Washington, D.C. on Sept. 21-23, 2015, for a CSG-led Medicaid Leadership Policy Academy. Almost 50 percent of the attendees were chairs or vice-chairs of health committees in their home states. A significant number...

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