How Community Health Centers Are Addressing the Opioid Epidemic

Milbank State Leadership Network
Mental Health

Last month, the Milbank Memorial Fund and the United Hospital Fund released  The Ripple Effect: The Impact of the Opioid Epidemic on Children and Families, which made clear that the magnitude of the opioid epidemic’s impact is much greater than realized—and that the epidemic’s impact on children and adolescents whose parents are addicted has received little attention.

Effectively addressing the ripple effect will require amassing the evidence of researchers and the experience of caregivers. In a companion case study to the report, Robert M. Hayes and Joseph Squitieri, DO, of Community Healthcare Network, a federally qualified health center in New York City, explore how community health centers are addressing the opioid epidemic.

The case study addresses two important dimensions of the opioid epidemic not explored in-depth in the first report: 1) the importance of providing medication-assisted treatment in primary care settings with integrated behavioral health services and 2) the phenomenon of adolescents becoming addicted to opioids at home by trying a family member’s prescription. The study demonstrates how opioid treatment, embedded in a robust primary care setting, is helping to improve the lives of opioid users and all those effected by the disease.