Alliance for Action on Opioids is a campaign from Alliance Health to provide a resource to help individuals, family members, and professionals take small but important steps in their life and work to help stem the tide of the opioid epidemic.
Alliance Health is the managed care organization for publicly funded behavioral health care services for the people of Cumberland, Durham, Johnston, Orange and Wake counties in central North Carolina as well as Mecklenburg County.
Alliance will begin operating as a Tailored Plan in the coming months as part of North Carolina’s Medicaid transformation. In that role, Alliance will manage all the health care needs – physical, behavioral and pharmaceutical – for individuals with severe mental illnesses, substance use disorders, or long-term care needs including intellectual/developmental disability and traumatic brain injury.
Addiction to heroin and other illegal opioids as well as misuse of prescription pain medications is a national crisis that has led to increased opioid overdose deaths. In North Carolina, Alliance is at the forefront of efforts to help stem the tide.
When our data analytics, utilization management and peer case reviews identified a pattern of risky prescribing of benzodiazepines and opioids, we worked with our providers to design and implement a set of tiered responses that aligns closely with the state’s plan to reduce prescription drug misuse.
Other actions we have taken include:
- We offer ongoing technical assistance for members of our provider network and provide education on appropriate best practice prescribing guidelines and how to assess and effectively treat opioid use disorders.
- We work with local pharmacists to understand opioid addiction as a chronic, preventable and treatable disease, and to increase awareness of the risk of opioids and possible drug interactions. We also initiate conversations with them about offering naloxone to people identified as high-risk for opioid overdose.
- We invested $100,000 to supply naloxone free of charge to community providers as well as consumers with known addictions and their families, along with education on how to use it. This included $25,000 to supply our Crisis and Assessment Center in Wake County. We also began including instruction in the use of naloxone in our Crisis Intervention Team training for law enforcement officers and other first responders. We supplied naloxone to the Wake County Sheriff’s Office and to TASC, a program in Cumberland County that works with people whose substance use or mental health problems have put them at risk for chronic involvement with the justice system.