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Opioids and COVID-19: An Epidemic Within An Epidemic

August 27, 2020
close up of a hand handling prescriptions pills as a concept

As the world fights two consecutive epidemics, COVID-19 and Opioids,  community support for both epidemics continue to be top priorities for Alliant Quality, the Medicare Quality Innovation Network-Quality Improvement Organization for Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Louisiana, North Carolina, and Tennessee. Alliant Quality has a goal to support the implementation of pain and opioid best practices and patient centered approaches through collaborations with community- based coalitions. Alliant will work across its seven southeastern states to provide data driven support, educational materials, Learning and Action Network (LAN) events and technical assistance to coalitions to reduce and eliminate opioid related overdoses, deaths and misuse. Alliant will assist community coalitions to reduce the impact of opioids by providing the following supports, including but not limited to:

  • Identification of opioid hotspots and quality improvement efforts to reduce opioid related harm, over utilization and overdoses
  • Training to increase awareness of opioid use disorders
  • Opioid risk assessment training
  • Community awareness campaigns
  • Stigma reduction campaigns
  • Harm reduction and prevention strategies
  • Connection to narcan distribution programs
  • Implementation of the CDC Guidelines for prescribing opioids
  • Starting or expanding Medication Assisted Treatment (MAT) Programs
  • Strategies to prevent adverse drug interactions
  • Promotion of non-opioid alternatives for pain management
  • Identification and establishment of medication drop boxes
  • Collaboration with community pharmacies to increase naloxone access
  • Promotion of naloxone co-prescribing with opioids
  • Training to increase the utilization of telehealth to treat opioid use and mental health conditions
  • Access and review of the state’s prescription drug monitoring program (PDMP)
  • Workflow processes to increase screenings for the identification of mental health and substance use
  • Patient and family educational materials

If your coalition would like to receive customized technical assistance for the implementation of any of these strategies or have general questions regarding opioids or mental health concerns, please contact Stacy Hull at stacy.hull@alliantquality.org.