Study finds coalitions help curb opioid deaths

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A new study has found that coalitions created in California to deal with the opioid epidemic are effective treatment facilities to increase safe prescribing practices and medication-assisted treatment while decreasing the number of overdose deaths.

Created in late 2015, the California Health Care Foundation (CHCF) launched its statewide network of local coalitions that had three priorities – prescribing safer opioids, using medication-assisted addiction treatment, and providing access to naloxone to reverse overdoses.

In 2017, a study of the CHCF by the Public Health Institute found that the foundation’s opioid safety coalitions’ strategies were working. More than 90 percent of the coalitions had adopted safer prescribing guidelines, while more than 75 percent increased access to naloxone. More than half had expanded their use of medication-assisted addiction treatments. The in counties with CHCF-supported coalitions prescribing buprenorphine went up by 20 percent, nearly double the rate of non-CHCF support counties.

“The initiative demonstrates responsiveness to an epidemic that is rooted in medicine, highlighting CHCF as an important driver of sustainable change in health care safety and quality,” the report said. “As an early “incubator” of local coalitions, CHCF has contributed to a timely and critical statewide strategy. However, the natural history of optimal progress among coalitions is measured over years, not months.”

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