At a town hall meeting this past August in Keene, New Hampshire, Hillary Clinton referred to opiate addiction as “the quiet epidemic.”
Just three months later, the quiet has become deafening. This past week, New Hampshire’s legislative executive council approved Governor Maggie Hassan’s call for a mid-November special session focused solely on addressing the state’s approach to opiate addiction. The New Hampshire Board of Medicine voted into action emergency rules that compel providers to adhere to practices that comply with federal guidelines for best practices for prescribing opiates, including a thorough risk assessment for addiction prevention. Chris Christie’s impassioned New Hampshire speech humanizing the face of addiction has gone viral. Patrick Kennedy is brought his message to New Hampshire at a special forum on November 10 to highlight the need for swift and urgent action to enforce the Mental Health and Addiction Parity Act so that insurers implement provisions mandated by law. Recently, NH residents named drug abuse as the second most important issue in the state behind jobs and the economy.
The noise is getting louder. The volume is turning up.
In his message at Fedcap’s Solution Series on October 28, Patrick Kennedy stressed the need to address the problem comprehensively—looking at the lifespan of addiction—from prevention to treatment to recovery to sustained recovery through employment and the support of a community of peers.
This is doable.
In New York City, Fedcap stood up an innovative service model called WeCARE, in a very short timeframe—providing comprehensive biopsychosocial assessment, health/behavioral health care, vocational training and employment. Today 50,000 people are served annually. There are models that exist that can be leveraged. We do not need to delay.
The opiate addiction problems in New Hampshire and the rest of the country will not be solved overnight. But by rapidly leveraging existing models that have a proven record of success, aligning our strategic efforts, partnering with lawmakers, treatment centers, healthcare providers, and employers, we can meet this crisis head on.
What are your thoughts?