Sadly, each of us may know an addict or have been impacted by a story of opioid addiction.
Baldrige alumnus examiner Kevin Deats believes in the Baldrige community and thinks this Baldrige blog could help accelerate communication and the national response to the opioid crisis by sharing strategies and best-practice approaches across the states we advocate excellence within.
Each day, more than 115 Americans die from overdosing on opioids, which include prescription pain relievers, heroin, and synthetic opioids such as fentanyl, according to the National Institute on Drug Abuse. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates that the total “economic burden of prescription opioid misuse alone in the United States is $78.5 billion a year, including the costs of health care, lost productivity, addiction treatment, and criminal justice involvement” (Florence C.S., Zhou C., Luo F., Xu L., "The Economic Burden of Prescription Opioid Overdose, Abuse, and Dependence in the United States," Med Care, 2013)—not to mention the tragedy of lives lost.
Because Baldrige examiners are experts in accelerating change, process improvement, being systematic and innovative, and measurement, Deats believes that examiners can help gather and share the evidence-based data that communities and lawmakers need to effect change.
“The epidemic hits hard across all demographics, and I think we need innovation to prioritize sharing and outreach," said Deats. "I validated this with a local candidate for state office. Leaders want to know. They don’t know where to look.”
Deats proposes that Baldrige examiners can help states answer fundamental questions to help leaders accelerate decisions including
- What your state wants to accomplish.
- What your state measures in order to make robust decisions in regards to deaths, overdoses, addiction, recidivism, etc.
- What solutions can be shared from your state to accelerate changes across the nation (including treatment innovations, success stories, outreach, and testimonies lending hope for the future).
- What your state leaders need to know about other approaches, deployments, learning, and integration of solutions in and across states.
- What strategic advantages and challenges (economic, political, criminal) your state has in addressing the crisis.
- How your leaders communicate (Baldrige Criteria, 1.1b), and how leaders can communicate across the country.
If you are interested in such engagement and sharing, please comment on this blog.