Department of Insurance warns of state's increased opioid overdoses
BATON ROUGE – Mortality rates in the U.S. are rising and due in part to more people dying from drug overdoses, according to the Louisiana Department of Insurance.
The Department of Insurance cites that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has seen an overdose death rate in Louisiana that exceeds the national average. The department also cites a study conducted by the Workers Compensation Research Institute that found that one in six injured workers in the Louisiana was identified as having longer-term use of opioids out of 25 states during the two-year study period.
"This is certainly not a list Louisiana wants to top," said Jim Donelon, Insurance Commissioner, said. "In addition to the costs to individuals and families that these drug abuses and opioid dependencies cause, there is also a cost to the insurance system as a whole."
Facts about opioid abuse and addiction:
- According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), more than 750 people in Louisiana died of drug overdoses in 2014. The CDC also reports a 300 percent increase in opioid prescription sales nationally since 1999.
- The death toll rose for the first time in ten years for certain demographic groups—primarily middle-aged white and lower income Americans attributed in part to opioids, suicide and chronic liver disease according to a study by the Brookings Institution's Hamilton Project.
- More than 6.2 million pounds of medication have been collected by the Drug Enforcement Agency's National Prescription Drug Take-Back Day. The next event will be held on Saturday, October 22 and provides a safe, convenient way of disposing of unneeded or expired prescription drugs.
If you or a loved one is dealing with prescription opioid abuse or addiction contact a doctor or primary care physician. You can use the search tool on the American Society of Addiction Medicine website to find a physician who specializes in addiction and also call 1-800-662-HELP (4357), an addiction helpline that is supported by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.