The inaugural meeting of the Louisiana Commission on Preventing Opioid Abuse was held yesterday at the Department of Health in Baton Rouge. The Commission is the result of HCR 113, a resolution passed in the last regular legislative session and is co-chaired by Malcolm Broussard of the Louisiana Board of Pharmacy and Eric D. Torres of the Louisiana State Board of Medical Examiners.
The stated mission of the Commission has eight essential duties, as delineated yesterday by Torres and Broussard:
- Identify and evaluate the causes of opioid abuse in Louisiana.
- Evaluate responsible use of opioid medications, including the adoption of “Guidelines for Prescribing Opioids for Chronic Pain.”
- Evaluate and recommend reasonable alternatives of medical treatment to mitigate the overutilization of opioid medications, including integrated mental and physical therapy health services.
- Recommend policies and procedures for more effective interagency, intergovernmental, and medical provider communication, cooperation, data sharing, and collaboration with other states, federal government, and local partners (non-profit agencies, hospitals, health care and medical service providers, and academia) to reduce opioid use.
- Evaluate and recommend policies and procedures for improved access and more effective opioid abuse treatment and prenatal care for pregnant women with substance abuse problems, including but not limited to clarifying current services available for those women, increasing the number of providers properly trained to provide care to this group, and effective ways to achieve treatment over incarceration.
- Evaluate medical professional training needs and the efficacy of educational materials and public education as an outreach strategy to raise public awareness about the dangers of misuse and abuse of opioid drugs.
- Assess alternatives to incarceration and medical treatment of opioid addicted individuals suffering from severe substance abuse disorders.
- Recommend any appropriate changes to relevant legislation, administrative rules, or pharmaceutical use to mitigate opioid abuse.
Of the eight duties, the first (identifying the causes) is the responsibility of the Commission staff, and the remaining duties are said identified causes. Further, number eight is the responsibility of all Commission representatives, which include a wide range of state agencies and associations – from medicine to criminal justice, and notably, workforce and workers’ comp. A final report addressing all of the concerns is due to the Legislature in February 2017. The Commission dissolves in July 2017.
Ava DeJoie, Director of the Louisiana Workforce Commission, was present representing the agency and volunteered the services of the Office of Workers’ Compensation for participation in the second duty. Additionally, LWC is listed in the meeting documents as a key participant in the third and fourth duties on the above list. Further, the Louisiana Association of Self-Insured Employers (LASIE), represented by Roland Dartez, is listed as a key participant of the fifth.
Broussard explained that each duty has a list of members that are expected to provide representatives. That list of representatives is then expected to coordinate and communicate with each other independently via a group leader and then report back on their findings to the whole team at the larger meetings.
As of yesterday, two leaders had been identified – Paul Hubbell, MD of the Society of Interventional Pain Physicians of Louisiana for the second group, and the representative from the Louisiana Academy of Physicians for the third group.
The next full meeting of the Louisiana Commission on Preventing Opioid Abuse will be held on November 7th, 2016, at the Department of Health Bienville Building. Stick with Louisiana Comp Blog for complete coverage.
Image Credit: Ted Jackson, NOLA.com | The Times-Picayune