Idaho has its own specific challenges in behavioral health and addiction treatment. Here is the latest news from around the state.
Blue Cross of Idaho Implements New Guidelines for Opioid Prescriptions
Blue Cross of Idaho, which insures about 542,000 state residents, is taking steps to curb the rise of opioid addiction. This is partly a response to new research and guidelines from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
The new guidelines from Blue Cross of Idaho state that opioids should have limited strength and should be prescribed for as brief a period as possible. The company recommends that immediate-acting options take priority over extended-release forms. Blue Cross of Idaho also moved naloxone to the top tier on its formulary, which will reduce copays for its generic form.
Breaking Down Barriers to Mental Health in Rural Idaho
Idaho social worker Shawn Briley takes a unique, personalized approach to increasing access to mental health treatment in rural Idaho. Although the licensed clinical social worker has an office, she also meets clients wherever necessary, such as behind a gas station parking lot or at homes in remote areas.
About 20 percent to 30 percent of rural Idaho residents lack health insurance, and such communities tend to have fewer mental-health specialists. Residents may have to drive an hour or more to a therapist’s office. Telehealth options could help reduce some of these barriers. The state is also encouraging more private health providers to make house calls.
Idahoans Rally for Addiction Recovery
As part of National Recovery Month, hundreds of state residents gathered in Boise on September 3 to support and celebrate individuals who are recovering from drug and alcohol addiction. The event aimed to reduce the stigma associated with addiction and mental illness. Attendees also emphasized that addiction recovery should be a community-wide effort, with success largely dependent on how much social support a person receives.
FDA Warns About Youth Vaping
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has called youth vaping a “national epidemic” that threatens the health of U.S. teens. Although many people think e-cigarettes are safer than traditional cigarettes, the devices can still lead to nicotine addiction. Some research also found a risk for “popcorn lung,” a disease linked to the flavoring chemical diacetyl.
A 2017 survey found that about 59 percent of Idaho high-school students used electronic vaping products. As the FDA works to update guidelines on vaping, local vape stores also have stepped up efforts to limit sales to minors.
Resource Fair Hopes to Help Released Inmates
Community organizations and government agencies gathered in Pocatello on Sept. 13 to explore how to improve outcomes for released inmates. This Community Information and Resource Fair mimicked earlier events in Boise and Idaho Falls. One aim of the fair was to explore how to prevent relapses among released offenders and make sure that individuals in need receive help with issues like addiction and mental illness.
Looking to improve your behavioral health or addiction treatment practice in Idaho? Contact BestNotes today to learn how we can help.