The Louisiana Health Department has released six recommendations in the fight against the opioid epidemic, much of which assistant State Health Officer, Dr. Joseph Kanter, says is common sense solutions. Kanter says the state needs to expand access to effective treatment and must look into other means to treat chronic pain.

"We have to do a better job of expanding the opportunity for patients to be treated with non-opioid alternatives," said Kanter.

Kanter says the recommendations call for improving access to non-opioid treatments for pain and treating addiction as a chronic illness.

"The quality of treatment centers across the state varies quite widely and we need to do a better job of supporting women and families who are affected by opioid addiction," said Kanter.

Kanter said behind every one of the recommendations are a series of measurable items that can be used to gauge the state’s progress.

"We did not want this to be just a fluff piece or soundbite. We wanted it to inform genuine and measurable actions," said Kanter.

More than 400 Louisianans died of opioid overdose deaths in 2017, a 20% increase over 2016.
The recommendations...
1. Improving access to non-opioid treatments for pain.
2. Expanding access to effective treatment.
3. Establishing a quality improvement system for treatment providers.
4. Treating addiction as a chronic illness.
5. Expanding the use of peer recovery specialists.
6. Investing in models of care that support woman and families.