Insurance Commissioner: Overdose Death Rate High in Louisiana

September 29, 2016

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says Louisiana’s drug overdose death rate exceeds the national average, the Louisiana Department of Insurance reported.

In addition, a recent study released by the Workers Compensation Research Institute found that one in six injured workers in Louisiana was identified as having longer-term use of opioids, the most prevalent out of the 25 states included in the two-year study period, the LDI said. High and long-term opioid use can lead to addiction, increased disability or work loss and even death, according to the study.

“This is certainly not a list Louisiana wants to top,” said Insurance Commissioner Jim Donelon. “In addition to the costs to individuals and families that these drug abuses and opioid dependencies cause, there is also a cost to the insurance system as a whole. Louisiana workers have a higher frequency of opioid use when injured than most other states. This is a dangerous trend that has reached crisis proportions.”

The Louisiana Department of Insurance is sounding the alarm in order to bring attention to the problems that are caused by these issues and highlight the ways multiple agencies and government entities are fighting back.

Fast Facts About Opioid Abuse and Addiction

According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), more than 750 people in Louisiana died of drug overdoses in 2014. The CDC also reports a 300 percent increase in opioid prescription sales nationally since 1999.

The death toll rose for the first time in ten years for certain demographic groups — primarily middle-aged white and lower income Americans — attributed in part to opioids, suicide and chronic liver disease according to a study by the Brookings Institution’s Hamilton Project

More than 6.2 million pounds of medication have been collected by the Drug Enforcement Agency’s National Prescription Drug Take-Back Day. The next event will be held on Saturday, October 22 and provides a safe, convenient way of disposing of unneeded or expired prescription drugs.

Source: Louisiana Department of Insurance

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