Opioid Crisis

What is the opioid crisis?

The Opioid Crisis (also referred to as the Opioid Epidemic) is a way of describing the dramatic increase in the use of prescription narcotic painkillers, and the large rise in addiction that resulted from narcotic use.

Because of these increases, addiction to opioids has spread to people and places not traditionally affected by addiction to “hard drugs” and illegal substances. This includes many who never intended to “get high” at all and became addicted only by following their doctor’s orders to manage the pain associated with a medical condition.

As efforts have been made to better and more appropriately control the use and abuse of prescription narcotics, those already addicted but no longer able to get prescriptions have increasingly turned to drugs like heroin, which is cheaper, but far stronger and far more addictive. As a result, overdoses and overdose-related deaths have also increased dramatically.

Read our fact sheet to learn how Tufts Health Plan is tackling substance use disorder and the Opioid Crisis.

Getting Help

There is currently no cure for addiction, but there are effective treatments and methods of managing the problem.

When evidence-based best practices are followed, outcomes of substance use disorder treatment are comparable to those of the treatment and management of other chronic health conditions like diabetes.

There are medications that have been scientifically demonstrated to help restore brain chemistry in ways that reduce the cravings and compulsions, and without the high.

There are also behavioral treatments that have been scientifically demonstrated to improve the ability to identify, recognize and avoid some of the thought processes, behaviors and situations associated with substance use.

The use of medication, evidence-based behavioral care or both allows many people to control their addiction effectively.

Where can I find out more?

The Tufts Health Plan navigator can answer questions about addiction, treatments, benefits, coverage and programs. Call 800-208-9565 and ask to speak with the navigator.