Louisiana Senator, Bill Cassidy (R), visited the Council for Alcoholism & Drug Abuse (CADA) Bossier Treatment Center Thursday afternoon for an informal discussion about opioid abuse and treatment.
The opioid crisis has been a priority for Cassidy, who worked with Connecticut Senator, Chris Murphy (D), to introduce bipartisan legislation to make it easier for doctors to share information that could save the lives of overdose survivors.
In Louisiana in 2016 there were 346 opioid-related overdose deaths, triple the amount in 2011. In 2015 Louisiana healthcare providers handed out 103.2 opioid prescriptions per 100 persons. The average rate nationally the same year was 70 opioid prescriptions per 100 persons.
The Bossier Parish District Attorney’s Office spoke to Cassidy about how they handle pill pushing doctors and their role in visiting schools and prosecuting drug traffickers. Cassidy says in Louisiana the number of doctors and dentists prescribing opioids is down, but the illegal flow of drugs into the state is up.
While federal dollars account for the majority of funding for treatment programs like CADA, Cassidy says the most productive treatment begins at the local level, one of his takeaways from Thursday’s meeting.
“Well run treatment programs work, and that if somebody has an opioid addiction, there is hope.” says Cassidy.
CADA Executive Director, Bill Rose, says he is always keeping up with reform in Washington D.C., and pushing for funding.
“Services or resources for services usually are not sufficient to deal with the problems we fight as it relates to substance abuse disorders. We’re always trying to solicit for more resources.” says Rose, who adds there are often not enough beds to treat the people seeking treatment through CADA.