Colorado Opioid Safety Summit

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Last week the National Safety Council announced in a new report that for the first time on record, the odds of dying from an accidental opioid overdose in the United States are greater than dying in a car crash. One in 96—those are the odds of dying from opioid overdose. For comparison, the odds of dying as a result of a car crash: 1 in 103; drowning: 1 in 1,117; and lightning: 1 in 218,106. At the same time, research suggests that nearly 80 percent of Americans using heroin reported misusing prescribed pain medication first. News like this can be paralyzing—making us think there is nothing that can be done to address the epidemic which led to 558 deaths in 2017 in Colorado alone.

The good news is not only is there something that can be done about the opioid epidemic, but hundreds of healthcare professionals in Colorado are convening this week to increase awareness and share lessons learned from the work that is already being tackled to address the crisis.  

The Colorado Opioid Safety Summit—hosted by the Colorado Hospital Association in partnership with the Colorado Department of Human Services, Office of Behavioral Health—brings together providers, administrators, researchers and others to learn more about the work that’s currently being done in the state to address opioid use disorder prevention, treatment, recovery, and harm reduction.

The OMNI Institute is privileged to support these efforts with research and evaluation services in Colorado and nationally that enable measurement of impacts and contribute to understanding of best practices for reducing opioid misuse and overdose including but not limited to:

  • Naloxone trainings and distribution;

  • Medication Assisted Treatment (MAT);

  • Public Overdose Education;

  • Identifying at-risk populations for opioid use disorder;

  • Prescription drug monitoring programs; and

  • Safe storage and disposal of prescription drugs.

In addition to our work to support community and statewide capacity building to implement and evaluate these strategies through partnerships with Serve Colorado, The Colorado Consortium for Prescription Drug Abuse Prevention, the Virginia Department of Behavioral Health and Developmental Services, and others, OMNI is proud to have worked with the National Association of Addiction Treatment Providers to develop the forthcoming NAATP Addiction Treatment Outcomes Measurement Toolkit which, through widespread use, will lead to common data being collected across providers on participants, services, and outcomes. A standardized, comprehensive approach to evaluating substance use treatment outcomes, will support additional research, and improved understanding of effective practices for treatment of substance use disorders, including opioid use disorder (OUD).

In addition to focusing on the efficacy of MAT, last year’s summit took time to dive into the issue of combatting stigma surrounding those with OUD. Hearing stories directly from those with lived experience was hugely valuable to our team as we approach this work.

We’re looking forward to the learnings that come out of this year’s summit as the work we do continues to highlight the critical and ongoing need for state- and community-wide interventions targeting opioid use prevention, treatment, and recovery.

We enjoyed running into so many of our partners at last year’s summit, so if you’re planning to attend this year, we hope you’ll find our team and say hello, we’d love to hear more about the work you’re doing in 2019.