The current opioid epidemic has affected nearly
every aspect of American society.
Drug overdose deaths continue to increase in the U.S. From 1999 to 2017, more than 702,000 people have died from a drug overdose. In 2017, a staggering 70,237 deaths by overdose were reported, making drug overdose the leading cause of injury-related death in the U.S. Of those deaths, almost 68% involved a prescription or illicit opioid. Opioids are entering our homes in a conventional manner and harming our loved ones in unconventional ways.
The problem of opioid use disorder (OUD), which has been recognized for more than 150 years and has not yet been solved, lies in the unique nature of the drugs themselves, for these agents are both therapeutically essential medications and potent agents whose pharmacological effects are virtually identical to those of illicit substances such as heroin, cocaine, methamphetamine, and marijuana. Ironically, the psychopharmacological characteristics that make them therapeutically effective also render them attractive for abuse.
The fact that a small portion of these medications is inappropriately prescribed by practitioners or misused or abused by patients and others or sold on the streets as clandestine fentanyl and mixed with prescription opiates raises important policy issues: e.g., how do we make the drugs readily available for therapeutic use, while limiting access for non-therapeutic use or abuse. Such a responsibility poses challenges very different from those of illicit drugs, because control must be achieved without impeding patients’ access to needed medical care.
Currently, the opioid epidemic is impacted every aspect of American life, values, and ingenuity in ways we could not have imagined. American businesses of all sizes are feeling the brunt of that impact. Each year, an estimated two million workers are not in the labor force due to suffering from OUD. And unfortunately, that number is growing more each day. Businesses small and large have been impacted by the opioid epidemic.
Exploring a multi-pronged approach to address the opioid crisis with businesses, health providers, community partners, schools, policymakers, law enforcement, and other stakeholders is needed to help build drug-free communities and ultimately save lives.
The Bizzell staff is committed to providing solutions to address the current opioid epidemic as well as the other substance use disorders that are continuing to affect individuals, families and businesses. We will continue to lead efforts to address substance use disorders and prevent overdoses by engaging providers, first responders, and business leaders through education.
We are devoted to making a positive change in the opioid crisis by using our 20 plus years of subject matter expertise to support and provide prevention, treatment, and recovery strategies and services aimed at reducing and eliminating OUD and its effects on our nation.
Our team of public health experts—seasoned physicians, pharmacists, public health specialists, and educators—has developed a comprehensive approach to minimize the impact of OUD in our communities. Our subject matter experts have developed innovative prevention and treatment models, and strategies for addressing barriers to preventing and treating substance use disorders.
Our subject matter experts effectively collaborate with treatment programs, business leaders, professional organizations, governmental entities, and other stakeholders to address the opioid epidemic using a variety of techniques.
Our services include:
- Customize consultation to enhance clinical performance, program outcomes and workforce development.
- Engaging provider communities to develop and adopt useful clinical tools and guidelines that affect diagnosis and treatment.
- Assessment of program to determine compliance with best practice guidelines and applicable regulations.
- Providing ongoing education on substance use disorders and treatment to law enforcement communities, patient advocates, practitioners, and other relevant stakeholders.
- Providing online and in-person training that addresses topics such as performance improvement, FDA approved medications, infectious disease, and cultural competence.
ADDITIONAL BIZZELL SOLUTIONS ADDRESSING OPIOID USE DISORDERS
U.S. CHAMBER OF COMMERCE FOUNDATION “SHARING SOLUTIONS” TEN CITY TOUR
Bizzell’s Chief Executive Officer, Dr. Anton Bizzell was appointed as a U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation fellow, providing expertise, guidance and facilitation of business leaders’ discussions throughout the ten city Sharing Solutions tour of the hardest-hit regions in the U.S., addressing strategies for business to adopt in addressing the opioid epidemic by supporting employees, applying competencies, engaging communities, and fostering changes in business practices.
PRESCRIBER EDUCATION AND TECHNICAL ASSISTANCE
Bizzell teams with Boston University to assist the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) Risk Evaluation and Mitigation Strategies (REMS) grant by providing logistics for trainings throughout the U.S., for which attendees can earn professional development hours. The FDA has mandated manufacturers of extended-release/long-acting (ER/ LA) opioid analgesics to make available comprehensive prescriber education in the safe use of these medications, based on the FDA curriculum known as the Blueprint for Prescriber Education for ER/LA Analgesics. Our curriculum provide a comprehensive educational program that addresses all aspects of this blueprint.
ADDRESSING OPIOID MISUSE AND OVERDOSE
For the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), Bizzell built on previous workforce competency efforts for pain management and addiction professionals by developing and implementing multifaceted initiatives and strategies to address OUD and related conditions. Specifically, these initiatives and strategies focused on utilizing research, assessment, education, and training to:
- Build infrastructure that ensures the availability of qualified healthcare professionals capable of meeting the challenges of OUD and other emerging issues
- Disseminate new medical, clinical, and technological interventions to address substance use disorders
OPIOID TECHNICAL ASSISTANCE AND PROVIDER EDUCATION
Bizzell supported SAMHSA in the administration of opioid treatment programs (OTPs) and state agencies to identify any changes needed to meet accreditation standards and provide OTPs with the resources to make those changes. Bizzell provided technical assistance to more than 1,600 OTPs, provider groups, and state systems responsible for developing policy and programming for medically assisted treatment. Bizzell provided medical education to clinical professionals, including medical directors, nurses, physician assistants, and clinical supervisors working with individuals addicted to opiates.