Louisiana Department of Health (LDH) Office of Behavioral Health (OBH) announced it is expanding opioid use disorder treatment in the Northwest and Northshore regions of Louisiana. Accessible, evidence-based, 24/7 treatment is now available in Shreveport and is coming to Hammond in June of this year. These areas were chosen because of their high rate of opioid prescriptions and are available at Behavioral Health Group (BHG) Shreveport, 1303 Line Avel, Suite 600, by calling 844-535-7291. Between 4:00 a.m. and 5:00 p.m., services are provided by calling 318-349-2451.
These new services are made possible by the expansion of funds earmarked to increase the workforce in these areas and come from the federal entity, Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) through the Louisiana State Opioid Response (LaSOR) 2.0 Grant. The LDH has developed a business plan designed to combat opioid substance abuse by providing outpatient treatment utilizing Medication for Opioid Use Disorder (MOUD), supplying clients with effective, evidence-based treatments that allow them to live their daily lives.
Currently, almost all Opioid Treatment Programs only provide treatment during daytime hours. This can be detrimental to individuals battling opioid addiction. “The road to recovery is different for everyone, and for some that may require unconventional hours to accommodate those with young children or who work on later shifts. We are proud to expand around-the- clock opioid treatment in Louisiana, meeting families where they are when they most need it,” said LDH Secretary Dr. Courtney N. Phillips.
According to federal research done in 2019, only 1 in 20 Louisiana residents affected by opioid addiction received the help they needed that year. The national average is 1 in 9. “For those seeking help for the first time, the need for care often strikes at night,” said Natashia Cheatham, regional director of operations for BHG. “Waiting for the nearest treatment center to open can be a matter of life or death for people living with opioid use disorder (OUD). We are looking forward to working with the Caddo Parish community to provide the full spectrum of opioid treatment services.”
Authors from the Lancet’s, “Responding to the Opioid Crisis in North America and Beyond: Recommendations of the Stanford-Lancet Commission,” published in February, said that in the USA and Canada, 2020 was the worst year on record for fatal opioid overdoses. The US overdoses rose 37%.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) said that provisional data analysis estimates for the 12 months ending in May 2021, there were 75,387 deaths from opioid toxicity.
Opioids—mainly synthetic opioids (other than methadone)—are currently the main driver of drug overdose deaths, said the CDC, with 72.9% of opioid-involved overdose deaths involving synthetic opioids. And, overdose deaths involving psychostimulants such as methamphetamine are increasing with and without synthetic opioid involvement.
Also in February, Medscape reported a surge in the rate of Black Americans dying from a combination of opioids and cocaine, an increase of 575%. The rate for White Americans increased by 184%