Idahoans Say Opioid Partnerships Are Working
Crapo cites Latah County recovery efforts as he receives health care innovation award
WASHINGTON – Awareness about the dangers of opioid addiction is increasing, but are federal, state and local partnerships working to reduce the risk to Idahoans and Americans? Expanded commitment to fight opioid abuse through new initiatives at the federal level and assistance to states through programs included in the 21st Century Cures Act are reducing the opioid problem in Idaho, according to results provided by those working to address the crisis. Local recovery efforts were shared with Idaho Senator Mike Crapo as he received the American Life Sciences Innovation Council’s (ALSIC) 2018 Champion of Health Care Innovation Award.
“Health care innovation accelerates the discovery, development and delivery of new cures and treatments for a multitude of health problems, and is particularly critical in rural states like Idaho,” said Crapo. “The federal government must be a strong partner in programs to stop drug abuse and awareness and maintain a leading role in conducting medical research.”
Darrell Keim of Moscow is Director for the Latah Recovery Center, and says the center provides approximately 5,000 recovery support sessions annually, including recovery coaching and 12-step programs. Keim says since the center opened in 2015, thanks in part to federal funding, drug and alcohol-related crimes have been “down significantly” in the area. Statistics show police drug calls down by almost one-third and alcohol offenses cut by half since 2013. Keim credits the partnerships between local entities that receive funding from both the local, state and federal levels.
“What I find really amazing is the change in local crime since we opened in 2015 and now,” Keim said. “Our center offers 30 different workshops per week. We also have the Community Hospital Association of Spokane clinic and the Gritman Medical Center and the Center for Hope offering new programs, including access to a full-time psychologist.”
Retired Latah County Commissioner Tom Stroschein and Norma Jager, Administrator for Recovery Idaho, presented the health innovation award to Crapo. They said federal grant programs like those established in the Cures Act are critical to support community recovery centers that work in concert with treatment and criminal justice programs that are making headway in Idaho in the fight against opioid abuse.
The White House declared the opioid crisis a public health emergency in October 2017, citing the loss of more than 59,000 American lives. As a senior member of the Senate Finance Committee, Crapo supported the 21st Century Cures Act, a landmark health care innovation package that authorized federal grant funding to support states and territories in their efforts to assist individuals, access treatment and to reduce opioid-related overdose deaths. Crapo also supported passage of the Comprehensive Addiction and Recovery Act, which allows the Attorney General to award grants to states to address substance abuse and misuse, and promote recovery.
Crapo said federal dollars have been critical in the establishment of nine community recovery centers around Idaho as the state focuses on recovery access particularly in rural communities. The Senate Finance Committee has held multiple hearings to evaluate effective ways to address the opioid epidemic and actively continues to work on bipartisan legislation aimed at improving the federal response to the opioid epidemic. This week, the committee approved another initiative, the Helping to End Addiction and Lessen (HEAL) Substance Use Disorder Act. The new legislation targets improvements for opioid addiction for beneficiaries and families utilizing services through Medicare and Medicaid.
A report issued this month by the American Medical Association (AMA) noted progress nationwide in reducing opioid addiction issues, through steps like reducing prescriptions for opioids over five consecutive years. Still, much needs to be done since the AMA says more than 100 people die every day from opioid-related overdoses.
The Champion of Health Care Innovation Award, presented by ALSIC in conjunction with Recovery Idaho, Idaho Chapter of the National Hemophilia Foundation and the Northwest Parkinson’s Foundation, recognizes Senator Crapo’s efforts in Congress to position America as a leading force in health care innovation.
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