Margret Cooke, Commissioner for the Massachusetts Department of Public Health, reflects on new preliminary data showing possible improvement this year for opioid-related overdose deaths; Dr. Amy Ladley, the State Perinatal Quality Program Manager for...
Margret Cooke, Commissioner for the Massachusetts Department of Public Health, reflects on new preliminary data showing possible improvement this year for opioid-related overdose deaths; Dr. Amy Ladley, the State Perinatal Quality Program Manager for the Bureau of Family Health in Louisiana, discusses a relatively new effort working with 47 of Louisiana’s 49 birthing hospitals on at least one of four initiatives to improve care for pregnant and postpartum people struggling with opioid use; ASTHO and the de Beaumont Foundation have been working on the latest version of the PHWins survey and the results are due out in just a few weeks; and ASTHO’s Health Equity Summit 2022 is coming up on Wednesday, July 27th.
This is Public Health Review Morning Edition for Monday, July 18th, 2022. I'm Robert Johnson.
Now, today's news from the Association of State and Territorial Health Officials.
So, our preliminary data for early 2022 is currently showing a decrease in opioid overdose deaths. We're encouraged by those numbers, but we're really going to need to see if those figures bear out as the year goes on.
Massachusetts public health commissioner Margret Cooke reflects on new preliminary data showing possible improvement this year. That's a bit of good news considering the state also reported an 8.8% increase in the rate of opioid-related overdose deaths in 2021 when compared to cases in 2020.
Our data and our report show that fentanyl was present in 93% of all overdose deaths where a toxicology report was available. Fentanyl is poisoning the drug supply and people using drugs just don't know how common it is, and they frankly just don't know how deadly it is.
Cooke says the pandemic hasn't helped.
We really think that the pandemic is a huge driver of these numbers. And as we get control of the pandemic, we are hopeful that the numbers will, again, begin to decrease. But we know that it's had a profound impact on people's mental health and it's led to an increased overall substance use across Massachusetts and across the nation.
According to a news release, the state proposes to spend more than $543 million on harm reduction treatment and recovery programs in fiscal year 2023. Cooke says her team is pulling out all the stops to help people survive this epidemic.
We have obtained a blanket federal exemption, which allows for take-home doses of medication for opioid use disorder. We've implemented the DA's waiver to allow telehealth for buprenorphine and naltrexone prescriptions, and we've been actually reimbursing opioid treatment providers for cellphones and data plans, which has really helped patients stay connected during the pandemic to their providers.
At the same time, we've leveraged the second round of funding from the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration to increase access to treatment medication and to reduce opioid and stimulant misuse and overdose.
You can read the state's news release using the link in the show notes.
Louisiana is working with hospitals to improve care for pregnant and postpartum people struggling with opioid use.
Dr. Amy Ladley manages the state's perinatal quality collaborate, a relatively new effort working with 47 of Louisiana's 49 birthing hospitals on at least one of four initiatives. Ladley says early success is built on trust and an approach, not typical of a government program.
We're not clipboard people, so I can't write you a ticket, I can't get you in trouble. But what I can do is equip you with the tools and the confidence and the support to not only do what's best in terms of the evidence base, but do what's best for your facility staff, for your patients, and your community.
Ladley shares more about the work in Louisiana on a new episode of the Public Health Review podcast, coming soon everywhere you stream audio
For several months, we've been telling you about the latest work to survey the public health workforce ASTHO and the de Beaumont Foundation have been gathering information from public health professionals for the latest version of the PH Wins survey, and the results are due out in just a few weeks. We'll have them for you when they're ready, along with commentary from the people who made it happen.
Finally today, ASTHO's Health Equity Summit 2022 is coming up, but you still have time to reserve a seat for this online event. It's set for Wednesday, July 27th. Panelists will consider public health infrastructure and the current financing system in a health equity context. You can sign up using the link in the show notes.
That'll do it for today's newscast. We're back tomorrow morning with more ASTHO news and information.
I'm Robert Johnson. You're listening to Public Health Review Morning Edition. Have a great day.