What’s the Leading Cause of Accidental Deaths?

Manatt on Health


Deaths From Opioid-Related Overdoses Now Surpass Other Leading Causes of Accidental Deaths. On World Health Day, Let’s Join Forces to End the Epidemic.

Deaths due to opioid-related overdoses, including prescription opioids, other synthetic opioids and heroin, reached almost 50,000 in 2017—and have now exceeded other leading causes of accidental death, including car crashes (37,133) and gun deaths (38,551). More people die each year from opioid overdoses than from HIV/AIDS at the height of that epidemic (43,115 in 1995).1

On average, 130 Americans now die every day from an opioid overdose.2 The victims span demographics and age groups. In fact, older adults are the fastest-growing population addicted to opioids, with 71,000 Medicare Part D beneficiaries at serious risk of opioid misuse or overdose.3

The statistics are shocking. But as we come together on World Health Day, we want to focus on the solutions. Manatt is partnering with stakeholders across the healthcare spectrum—including payers, providers, associations, and federal and state governments—to identify best practices, innovative programs and next steps for ending the opioid epidemic. With people around the globe joining forces on World Health Day to support better health, it spurred us to share our latest resources with you:

  • Identifying leading-edge strategies from hard-hit states. To identify the initiatives that are having a real impact and to build on those successes, Manatt Health and the American Medical Association (AMA) performed an in-depth analysis of how four hard-hit states—Pennsylvania, Colorado, Mississippi and North Carolina—are addressing the epidemic. In a recent webinar, we shared our findings. Click here to view the webinar on demand—and download the complete analyses for Pennsylvania and Colorado.
  • Providing plans with a toolkit to respond. For the California Health Care Foundation (CHCF), Manatt Health has created a toolkit for health plans implementing opioid safety initiatives. The toolkit highlights best practices and success stories, as well as provides practical tools, across five areas: leadership and change management, provider network, medical management, pharmacy benefit, and member services. Based on the work of Smart Care California—a public-private partnership supported by CHCF—the toolkit was informed by a literature review and conversations with health plan leaders. It translates the leaders’ experiences into actionable steps that can be customized to meet the needs of individual organizations. Click here to access the toolkit.
  • Addressing barriers to exchanging information needed for treatment. The opioid epidemic comes at a time when states and providers are seeking to break down silos and encourage the care coordination that is crucial for effective treatment. But a common roadblock is federal confidentiality rules, which can make information sharing a challenge. In a recent white paper for the CHCF, Manatt explains the rules and recent changes, how they apply, and ways to navigate them in support of effective treatment. Click here to read the paper. In a recent issue brief with the eHealth Initiative and Foundation (eHI), we summarize the findings from a roundtable with thought leaders on the role of health information technology in protecting and sharing behavioral health data during the opioid crisis. Click here to download the brief.
  • Exploring Medicaid’s critical role in the response. Medicaid covers more than 1 in 3 people with an opioid use disorder. It is a stable and robust base from which states are battling the epidemic, especially in states that have expanded Medicaid to low-income adults. In an issue brief for the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation’s State Health and Value Strategies program, Manatt Health looks at data from three states—New Hampshire, Ohio and West Virginia—to highlight Medicaid’s role as the linchpin in states’ efforts to end the epidemic. Click here to access the brief, which found that Medicaid provides 6 times as much funding as federal grants in New Hampshire, 12 times as much in Ohio and 10 times as much in West Virginia.

These are just a few of the tools Manatt offers to help you understand—and fight—the opioid epidemic and the broader substance use disorder crisis in the United States. To make it easy for you to benefit from all of our opioids-related materials, we have created a “one-stop” page on our website that links you to all of our opioids-focused resources. Click here to visit the page—and come back often to check the latest information.

1Sources: https://www.drugabuse.gov/related-topics/trends-statistics/overdose-death-rates; https://crashstats.nhtsa.dot.gov/Api/Public/ViewPublication/812603;
https://www.cdc.gov/nchs/pressroom/sosmap/firearm_mortality/firearm.htm

2 Source: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, “Understanding the Epidemic”

3oig.hhs.gov/oei/reports/oei-02-18-00220.pdf