What can you do about the it?
The BASE Solution
Stores are stocking their shelves for the holiday rush, and people are greasing the axles for the holiday spend. Gearing up for the end of the year festivities is a customary part of American culture. In line with the mad dash is the growing healthcare bottleneck of end-of-year medical procedures.
The American healthcare system is one in which most plans have a deductible, the out of pocket spend that a person or family must meet before care is covered by the insurance plan. Most people do not reach this deductible until the later months in the year. Once this happens, it’s a mad dash to book procedures that can now be covered.
An area of receiving far too little attention, is that of the opioid spike at the end of the year. In the United States, more than 142 million opioid prescriptions are written each year. That’s 43.3 prescriptions per 100 persons. Prescription opioids are powerful pain-reducing medications that include oxycodone, hydrocodone, and morphine, among others, and have both benefits as well as potentially serious risks. However, too many Americans have been impacted by the serious harm associated with these medications, and despite ongoing efforts, the scope of the opioid crisis continues to grow.
Because opioids are so addictive, the propensity for misuse is extremely high. People can become addicted even when following prescriber protocols. When this happens, the process is painful and can be life-altering. Not only does it happen to adults, but it’s happening in staggering numbers with our youth. Prescription medication overdoses among 12-24 year olds account for 1/4th of all drug-related ED visits. As a result of the mad dash for insurance coverage, many of the prescriptions are being written at the end of the year.
How can educators help?
Organizations like Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) have championed for student prevention throughout the country with programs like SOAR (SSI/SSDI Outreach, Access, and Recovery) which is designed to increase access to SSI/SSDI for eligible children who are experiencing or at risk of homelessness and have a serious mental illness, medical impairment, and/or a co-occurring substance use disorder. Prevention is critical and with so much of a students’ wellness being placed in the hands of educators, it’s important to know that you’re not alone, resources exist and programs are standing by to lend a hand.
Another such program is The Drug Free Communities Support Program (DFC), created by the Drug Free Communities Act of 1997. This program is the Nation’s leading effort to mobilize communities to prevent youth drug use. Directed by the Office of National Drug Control Policy (ONDCP), in partnership with the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), the DFC program provides grants to local drug-free community coalitions to increase collaboration among community partners and to prevent and reduce youth substance use.
Through programs like these, you can gain access to cutting-edge substance use and misuse prevention and intervention programs. The funding and the programs are there for your support!
Getting started can seem overwhelming. Let BASE help. Contact us today to learn how you and your district can gain community-wide resources. Ringing in the New Year should be about the future and hope for what can be. With medical procedures out of the way, the new start can and should be, healthy for everyone.