Blue Cross and Blue Shield of New Mexico (BCBSNM) recognizes the urgent need to address the opioid use, abuse, and addiction epidemic plaguing our communities. Opioid overdose deaths have nearly quadrupled since 1999, along with sales of prescription opioid drugs. From 2013 to 2014, the number of deaths attributed to opioid overdose increased by almost 20% in New Mexico, resulting in the second highest overdose death rate in the nation. In an August 2016 letter, US Surgeon General, Vivek H. Murthy, M.D., M.B.A., addressed the health crisis and asked for a commitment from clinicians to help end this epidemic.
BCBSNM is committed to help end this epidemic and has gathered information to help identify patterns of abuse and addiction, guidelines from the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) about prescribing opioids, and the avoidance of the dangerous combination of opioids and benzodiazepines1,2. We hope you find the resources useful in your efforts to provide quality care for your patients.
Learn more about the surgeon general's initiative to help end this epidemic by visiting the TurnTheTideRx website.
Contact the BCBSNM Pharmacy Department for more information or if you have any questions, firstname.lastname@example.org.
1. Gudin JA, et al. Risks, Management, and Monitoring of Combination Opioid, Benzodiazepines, and/or Alcohol Use. Postgrad Med. 2013 Jul; 125(4): 115 130. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4057040/
2. FDA Drug Safety Communication: FDA warns about serious risks and death when combining opioid pain or cough medicines with benzodiazepines; requires its strongest warning. (2016, August 31). Retrieved November 15, 2016, from http://www.fda.gov/Drugs/DrugSafety/ucm518473.htm
3. SAMHSA Center for Behavioral Health Statistics and Quality.The DAWN Report: Benzodiazepines in Combination with Opioid Pain Relievers or Alcohol: Greater Risk of More Serious ED Visit Outcomes. (2014, December 18). Rockville, MD.
The foregoing material is for informational purposes only and is not a representation or warranty with respect to the suitability of any drug or treatment for a particular diagnosis or patient, nor is it a substitute for the independent medical judgment of a health care provider. Health care providers are instructed to use their own best medical judgment based upon all available information and the condition of the patient in determining a course of treatment which remains the provider's sole responsibility. Regardless of any benefit or coverage determination, the final decision regarding any drug or treatment is between the patient and the health care provider.