Blue Cross is Working to
Tackle the Opioid Epidemic

See what we’ve done, what we plan to do, and how you can help

Facts about the opioid epidemic

650k

opioid prescriptions are dispensed in the U.S. on an average day

1,000

people treated in the ER for misusing prescription pain medication each day

115

people die each day from opioid overdose (includes heroin & prescription opioids)

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Common opioids: Codeine, Fentanyl (Duragesic), Hydrocodone/acetaminophen (Vicodin, Norco), Methadone, Morphine (Kadian,  MS Contin), Oxycodone (OxyContin, Percocet)

What is an Opioid?

Opioids are a class of drugs that include pain medications available legally by prescription, such as hydrocodone and oxycodone. This also includes synthetic opioids, such as fentanyl, and the illegal drug, heroin.

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How much do you know about Opioids?

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Blue Cross Successes from 2012 to 2016

24%

reduction in number of opioid pills dispensed

56%

reduction in long-acting oxycodone and oxymorphone use

42%

reduction in fentanyl use

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What We're Doing

Prevention

We manage our drug lists and create programs that allow appropriate pain management when needed, while minimizing misuse of opioids.

Fraud & Abuse Watch

We identify at-risk members, monitor who's obtaining controlled substances from multiple prescribers, and analyze claims for larger-than-average amounts.

Treatment

By integrating care, removing barriers to addiction treatment and helping members who overdose, we're making treatment more effective.

Advocacy & Awareness

Working with physician groups, forging partnerships with other insurers and supporting community groups are all keys to success.

More On Blue Cross’ Strategy

What You Can Do

Work with Your Doctor

If you are prescribed opioids for pain, work with your doctor to create a plan on how to manage your pain and make the most informed decision. Follow up regularly with your doctor.

Take & Store Opioids Properly

Never take opioids in larger doses or more frequently than prescribed. Never sell or share prescription opioids. Store prescription opioids in a secure place, out of reach of others (including children, family, friends, and visitors).

Ensure Unused Drugs Are Disposed of Properly

Proper drug disposal is important because it reduces the chance that others may accidentally take or intentionally misuse the unneeded medicine.

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What Your Community Can Do

Build awareness of substance use and misuse.

Promote local drug take-back opportunities.

Implement evidence-based prevention interventions and recovery supports.

Encourage providers, persons at high risk, family members, and others to learn how to prevent and manage opioid overdose.

Ensure access to treatment for individuals who are misusing or addicted to opioids or who have other substance use disorders.

Encourage the public to call 911.

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