Suicide Stats, Addiction Stats – But Not A Lot Of Solutions



Suicide Stats, Addiction Stats – But Not A Lot Of Solutions
December 4, 2018  |  Monica E. Oss

The past few days, the new Centers for Disease Control (CDC) study on suicide (see Suicide Mortality in the United States, 1999–2017) has grabbed headlines (see CDC: Opioids, Suicides Drive Life Expectancy Drop). There has been a dramatic increase in the suicide rate over the past decade. The age-adjusted suicide death rate increased 23% between 2006 and 2017—increasing from 11 deaths per 100,000 people to to 14 deaths per 100,000.

On top of this increase, there has been a consistent decline in the average life expectancy in the U.S. for the past three years. Life expectancy at birth first declined in 2014, falling from 79.9 years, to 79.8 years. This was the first drop since 1993. Since then, life expectancy at birth has continued to decline. In 2016 average life expectancy for someone at birth was 78.7 years; in 2017, this decreased slightly to 78.6 years (see U.S. Life Expectancy Falls For The First Time This Century and Health, United States, 2017). This decline is being fueled by the increase in suicide, as well as increases in overdose deaths.

Between 2016 and 2017, the age-adjusted drug overdose death rate increased by 9.6%, from 19.8 per 100,000 in 2016 to 21.7 per 100,000 in 2017. Between 2006 and 2016, the drug overdose death rate has increased by a total of 72% (see U.S. Drug Overdose Rate Climbs; Heroin & Prescription Opioids Top The List and Drug Overdose Deaths in the United States, 1999–2017).

These statistics are part of a continuing stream of largely negative health statistics concerning addiction and addiction treatment in the U.S. Some of our recent coverage has included:

In addition to the human tragedy and lost potential, the addiction epidemic is expensive. The opioid epidemic, specifically, is estimated to have cost the United States a total of $1 trillion since 2001, with a cost of $95.8 billion in 2016 (see Economic Cost Of U.S. Opioid Epidemic Exceeds $1 Trillion Over 16 Years).

On the health care side of the equation, between 2010 and 2015, the rate of opioid-related hospitalizations among older adults increased by 34.3% from 199.3 to 267.6 per 100,000, and the rate of opioid-related emergency department visits increased by 74.2%, from 44.7 to 77.9 per 100,000 (see Opioid-Related Hospitalizations Among 65+ Population Increased 34% Over Five Years). About 12.2% of people age 12 and older with a substance use disorder and who received treatment (4.0 million) were treated at a specialty facility, such as a hospital (inpatient only), rehabilitation facility (inpatient or outpatient), or mental health center in 2017—marking a 5.3% in the number of people who received treatment in 2016 (see 12.2% Of People With Substance Use Disorder Received Specialty Treatment In 2017).

On the corrections side of the equation, about half of state prisoners (58%) and two-thirds of sentenced jail inmates (63%) were addicted to drugs (see Drug Use, Dependence, and Abuse Among State Prisoners and Jail Inmates, 2007-2009). Opioid addiction is estimated to cost $7.6 billion in criminal justice costs annually—with 96% of those costs falling to state and local governments (see The High Price of the Opioid Crisis).

In this scenario, there are opportunities for provider organizations to grow by serving the consumers and families suffering from addiction. There are new opportunities funded by recent legislation.

There are opportunities with health plans—commercial, Medicare, and Medicaid. States can now expand coverage of, and access to, addiction treatment in ways we haven’t seen before (see The State ‘Crazy Quilt’ Of Opioid Treatment Policy). With increased funding for programs to expand access, executive teams will have new opportunities to fund existing programs and develop innovative models of treatment (see Untangling The Access Issues For Addiction Treatment). With the situation at crisis stage, payers are looking for programs that can produce results. That means there are many opportunities for organizations to use pilot programs to explore new models of care—and for provider organizations to expand models that have demonstrated results.

And there are opportunities in the criminal justice system. The overlap of addiction treatment and the criminal justice system will need more support, especially as the number of states using involuntary commitment of opioid addiction increases (see What’s Wrong With This Picture?). Provider organization executives should look for opportunities to expand crisis services to prevent consumers from becoming involved with the criminal justice system, develop jail diversion programs to keep consumers out of jail (potentially in coordination with mental health and/or drug court programs), and to build reentry programs for consumers with addictions when they leave the criminal justice system.

But these opportunities to provide “best in class” treatment look different than just a decade ago. As companies work to address the opioid crisis with new medications and technologies, there has been a rapid expansion of tech innovations and new science. There are new medications (see FDA Approves New Opioid Addiction Treatment Combining Buprenorphine and Naloxone and FDA Approves Vivitrol for Opioid Dependence). There are new technologies (see First Prescription App for Substance Abuse Approved by FDA and FDA Grants Marketing Authorization Of The First Device For Use In Helping To Reduce The Symptoms Of Opioid Withdrawal).

For more of our latest resources on addiction treatment, check out these resources in the OPEN MINDS Circle Library:

  1. Addiction Treatment In The Era Of Marijuana Legalization
  2. Is Involuntary Commitment The Right Solution For The Opioid Crisis?
  3. New Measures Hit The Streets
  4. The Stigma Of Addiction Treatment Medication
  5. The Privacy Rule For Addiction Treatment Is Final
  6. Residential Addiction Treatment-The Opportunity In Changing Medicaid Policy
  7. Untangling The Access Issues For Addiction Treatment

For more on adjusting your organization as you learn new market information, join OPEN MINDS Senior Associate Joe Naughton-Travers on June 6, 2019 at The 2019 OPEN MINDS Strategy & Innovation Institute for “How To Develop a Strategic Plan: An OPEN MINDS Executive Seminar On Best Practices in Strategy, Portfolio Management, & Scenario-Based Planning.”