The Opioid Crisis in New York State

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The Opioid Crisis in New York State

New York State is witnessing an epidemic of opioid-related medical emergencies and opioid overdose deaths, stemming from the use of both prescribed and illicit opioids and heroin.

It is critical that New York State uses the full range of medical, psychological, social, and harm reduction methods and treatments to curb this epidemic, reduce harm to individuals and to society, and to treat each person in a dignified and integrated fashion.

The New York State Psychological Association (NYSPA) Division on Addictions was asked to offer their thoughts about the opioid crisis. Recognizing that addictions are complex disorders that are multifactorial in their origin and maintenance, they did a wonderful job offering suggestions for the opioid crisis from a biopsychosocial perspective that include biological/medical, psychological/psychotherapeutic and social interventions.

We are including this in this month’s newsletter because we wholeheartedly agree with these suggestions and wanted to share NYSPA’s work with people who might otherwise not come across it.

The White Paper focuses on the following select recommendations:

  1. Provide evidence-based training and education about substance misuse for medical and mental health professionals and students.
  2. Require prescriber and patient education about the risks of opioid-based pain medications.
  3. Require health care providers to provide referrals to substance use treatment for opioid overdose survivors and patients coming out of emergency department visits, rehabilitation and detoxification facilities.
  4. Integrate medical, psychological services and social interventions.
  5. Offer referrals for non-pharmaceutical, evidence-based interventions for pain management.
  6. Address opioid use in individuals in, and transitioning out, of the criminal justice system.
  7. Respect the importance of a harm reduction framework for the entire continuum of care.

Solving the opioid crisis will not be easy, but we are confident that a multidimensional approach to this problem will not only save the most lives, but will also help bring about the fastest resolution of this epidemic.
Here is the link if you want to read more…it’s incredibly comprehensive.


About the Author:

Carrie Wilkens, PhD

Carrie Wilkens, PhD, is the Co-Founder and Clinical Director of the Center for Motivation and Change in NYC and in the Berkshires. She co-authored an award-winning book, Beyond Addiction: How Science and Kindness Help People Change with Drs. Foote and Kosanke. Together they also contributed to a user-friendly workbook for parents: The 20 Minute Guide: A Guide for Parents about How to Help their Child Change their Substance Use. In collaboration with the Partnership for Drug-Free Kids, Dr. Wilkens and the CMC team is developing a national parent training program (the Parent Support Network) to provide parent coaches to families in need of support through a free hotline. Prior to these ventures, Dr. Wilkens was the Project Director on a large federally-funded Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) grant examining the effectiveness of motivational interventions in addressing the problems associated with binge drinking among college students. She is regularly sought out by the media to discuss issues related to substance use disorders and has been on the CBS Morning Show, Katie Couric Show, and Fox News as well as a variety of radio shows including frequent NPR segments such as the People’s Pharmacy and The Diane Rehm Show.