Moving video and panel on the opiod addiction epidemic, with policy options to address the problem

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This morning’s standing-room-only panel at CSG/ERC’s annual meeting in Baltimore on the epidemic of opiod addiction combined emotion with constructive options for policymakers. We first watched part of The Hungry Heart, a movie about the rising toll of addiction on rural communities and heard from a former addict and a physician from the movie. The stories of wrecked lives were heartbreaking. We then heard from CEPAC experts who described theirrecent report on the effectiveness of various treatment options, (medication vs. inpatient) and the need to expand treatment capacity. They estimate that every dollar spent on opiod addiction treatment generates $2 in savings – medical costs, corrections, and social costs. CEPAC estimates that there are about 130,000 opiod addicts in New England alone, but only 30% are receiving treatment. If we could get half the untreated population into effective treatment, the region could save 700 lives and $3 billion. They included concrete recommendations for policymakers that could improve access and lower barriers to effective treatment and highlighted successful programs from the region.