We’ve written before about North Carolina’s opioid problem. But it’s not just us — there’s good reason to be worried about the whole country.
NPR reports that “health care claims for people with opioid dependence diagnoses rose more than 3,000 percent between 2007 and 2014, according to an analysis of insurance records.” (The emphasis is ours, because 3,000 percent is a number everyone should pay attention to.)
That’s 3,000 percent increase in claims from people struggling with a major mental health concern: addiction. It’s also a 3,000 percent increase in claims in desperately-needed services supplied through our healthcare system. And it’s one reason healthcare prices are increasing.
What can we do? Educate, educate, educate. Patients need to know the dangers of opioids and doctors need to recommend alternative ways to treat pain. Oh, and while we’re at it, healthcare needs to be less expensive, so that people can actually afford alternative treatments for pain.