Louisiana Department of Health Says AG Jeff Landry is wrong about the opioid crisis

November 11, 2017 - 11:20 am
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WWL.com Reporting

The Edwards administration disputes the claim by Attorney General Jeff Landry that the expansion of the Medicaid program has helped fuel the opioid crisis. The state health department says there are fewer pain killers on the streets in the last year and more individuals are seeking life saving substance abuse treatment.

L-D-H Chief of Staff Andrew Tuozzollo says legislation passed this year that limits first time prescriptions for opioids has been effective.

"We've seen a 40% decrease in the amount of opioids per prescription."

Landry said last week the expansion of Medicaid resulted in more prescription drugs, increasing opioid abuse cases. Tuozzollo says that’s not true as the total number of pills prescribed has decreased by more than 10-million doses, a three-percent reduction from the year before Medicaid expansion to the year afterwards.

He says Medicaid expansion has also helped thousands get treatment for addiction to painkillers.

"The fact of the matter is that the Medicaid expansion is a lifeline first of all for people with addiction.  13,000 incidents for addiction, so those people are now getting treatment."

Landry asserts that hundreds of thousands of new prescriptions have been provided to people in Louisiana in the past year at almost no cost, which has exacerbated the opioid crisis. Tuozzollo says nothing could be further from the truth, as there is solid data that shows the state has been very successful at limiting painkiller prescriptions.

"For every prescription, there are actually less opiods going out," said Tuozzollo.

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