Transforming Health Care Through Evidence and Collaboration
Transforming Health Care Through Evidence and Collaboration

The Opioid Crisis: Treating Addiction and Saving Lives

March 19, 2018 | 09:00 AM
10:30 AM ET

An estimated 2.1 million Americans have an opioid use disorder, according to the latest national data. Opioid overdose takes the lives of 4.6 Americans every hour. With a crisis of this magnitude, it is easy to lose sight of the fact that effective, life-saving treatments are out there. Medication-assisted therapy and the opioid-reversing drug naloxone, for example, are two highly effective interventions for addiction and overdose, but access barriers persist.

In part two of our opioid webinar series, we explored ways to expand the use of evidence-based treatment, including:

  • Strategies to smooth access to key drug therapies through standing orders to dispense and removal of prior authorization requirements
  • Federal and private-sector initiatives to protect the patients from sub-standard or fraudulent addiction treatment
  • A multi-sector collaboration to adopt principles of care for substance abuse treatment and to help practitioners stay abreast of the evidence
  • Ideas for using pharmacy data to identify potential abuse and for deploying telehealth technology to improve access to treatment


Donald Berwick
Institute for Healthcare Improvement
Kathryn Power
Sherry Dubester
Anthem, Inc.
Eric Bailly
Anthem, Inc.
Suzanne Kunis
Horizon Blue Cross Blue Shield of New Jersey

Presentation Slides

"The Opioid Crisis: Taking Action," Kathryn Power, Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration
"Opioid Addiction and Substance Use Disorder: Anthem's Treatment Strategies to Address the Crisis," Sherry Dubester, MD & Eric Bailly, Anthem Inc.
"The Opioid Crisis: Protecting Members from Fraud, Waste and Abuse," Suzanne Kunis, Horizon Blue Cross Blue Shield of New Jersey
"Two National Efforts: The IHI Open School Substance Use Campaign & Shatterproof," Donald Berwick, MD, Institute for Healthcare Improvement

Additional Resources

"Access to Substance Abuse Treatment, Drug Overdoes Deaths, and Crime," EconoFact, Jason M. Lindo, Samuel R. Bondurant and Isaac D. Swensen