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Overdoses Up Amid Pandemic: Help Is Available

While the United States has been battling a global pandemic, a drug epidemic continues to silently rage through the country.

More than 81,000 drug overdose deaths occurred in the United States in the 12 months ending in May 2020, the highest number of overdose deaths ever recorded in that time frame, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

The latest numbers suggest an acceleration of overdose deaths during the COVID-19 pandemic — the majority of those deaths from opioids.

What We Are Doing

People with substance use disorders often are reluctant to ask for help because they fear they will get in trouble or be denied what they need to cope. Substance use disorder destroys lives. Recovery shouldn’t.

That’s why Arkansas Blue Cross and Blue Shield is working closely with the medical community and Arkansas businesses to address substance use disorders.

Through the Blue & You Foundation, we’ve funded the distribution of naloxone kits and training to law enforcement officers. We’re part of Together Arkansas, an opioid response initiative that provides employers a toolkit of free resources.

And we are working with our members, recognizing that you, or someone you love, may be struggling to live a normal life while hiding a disorder.

We recognize that medication- assisted treatment (MAT), provided by qualified physicians and paired with counseling, can help people regain control of their lives without disrupting their jobs or families.

What You Can Do

For medication-assisted treatment to work, people who need it have to speak up. Talk to your doctor. Call the number on the back of your health plan ID card. You can also call the New Directions Substance Use Member Hotline at 877-326-2458.

Take the first step … ask for help.

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