ICYMI: Virginia Shows How Medicaid Can Help End the Opioid Crisis
May 7, 2018
Key Quote: “What Virginia did was use the big health plan it has control over — Medicaid, which covers low-income people — to boost reimbursement rates to addiction treatment providers.
“The state started a program, the Addiction and Recovery Treatment Services (ARTS), in April 2017. Although ARTS is still fairly new, independent evaluations from researchers at Virginia Commonwealth University (VCU) have already found some promising results.”
Vox: We really do have a solution to the opioid epidemic — and one state is showing it works
Virginia shows how Medicaid can help end the opioid crisis.
By German Lopez
May 10, 2018
RICHMOND, Virginia — Fawn Ricciuti started using opioids a decade ago, when she was enrolled in a New Jersey pain management program. What followed is the kind of story that’s been told thousands of times over the past few years as America’s opioid epidemic has grown: Her casual use of opioid painkillers over time turned into full-blown addiction.
Her doctors eventually tried to wean her off painkillers, arguing that her dosage was too high. While that led her to use fewer opioids for a while, she’d still buy opioid painkillers from the street, she said, to manage pain stemming from painful disorders, including scoliosis. The drug use turned more recreational as she began using opioids with her ex-boyfriend, who’s also the father of her son. Pretty soon, the drugs consumed her life.
But unlike the stories commonly told in the news and coroners’ reports, Ricciuti did not overdose and die. Early in 2017, she got on buprenorphine (common brand name: Suboxone), which does not produce a euphoric high when taken as prescribed. She said that the drug, paired with group therapy, helps her treat not just the cravings and withdrawal that come with addiction and dependence but also, along with chiropractic, the pain that led her to use opioid painkillers in the first place.