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Using Medicaid to Advance Evidence-Based Treatment of Substance Use Disorders

In a new toolkit prepared for Arnold Ventures, Manatt Health reviews promising strategies that state Medicaid programs are adopting to address the substance use disorder crisis, and specifically the opioid epidemic.

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In 2019, the number of drug overdose deaths in the United States declined, suggesting that the efforts of state and local governments, providers and other stakeholders to stem the crisis of drug-related deaths are beginning to have some effect. But there is much more work to be done: More than 70,000 individuals in this country still die each year from drug overdoses. [1]

In a new toolkit prepared for Arnold Ventures, Manatt Health reviews promising strategies that state Medicaid programs are adopting to address the substance use disorder (SUD) crisis, and specifically the opioid epidemic. The paper identifies implementation strategies and action steps and provides examples of implementation tools deployed in leader states.

Highlighted strategies are informed by evidence-based research on what is effective in combating SUD and the opioid epidemic in particular, but it is important to note that the fast-moving nature of the epidemic, the evolving response of state and local governments, and the complexity of teasing out the individual impact of concurrent interventions mean that such evidence base is limited. Recognizing the limits of current research, the toolkit also addresses how states might monitor and evaluate their selected strategies, both to allow for timely policy adjustment and to amplify the body of evidence-based research.

To read the full toolkit, click here.

[1] “Drug Overdose Deaths | Drug Overdose | CDC Injury Center,” December 21, 2018, https://www.cdc.gov/drugoverdose/data/statedeaths.html.