Tuesday, September 27, 2016 Latest News Reports Touch on Cost, Politics of Opioid Epidemic As National Physical Therapy Month approaches in October, APTA continues to share its #ChoosePT message to help the public better understand how physical therapy can play a role in addressing pain and reducing opioid use. It's a message that remains relevant, set against a news cycle that seems to add a new, often harrowing perspective on the opioid epidemic nearly every day. Here's a brief roundup of some recent notable reports and stories. The prescription opioid epidemic has cost the US $78.5 billion. Science Daily reports on a recent study that estimates the cost of the prescription epidemic at $78.5 billion, with about one-third of those costs related to health care, and one-fourth borne by the public sector. Private insurers have witnessed a 1,300% increase in costs related to opioid treatment between 2011 and 2015. A report in Kaiser Health summarizes research that found insurers' annual payments to providers, hospitals, laboratories, and treatment centers related to treatment for opioid abuse grew from $32 million in 2011 to $446 million in 2015. The rate of opioid-dependent babies born in the US has doubled. According to a report in Live Science, researchers have found that the rate of newborns diagnosed with neonatal abstinence syndrome—essentially, withdrawal symptoms experienced after being exposed to opioids while in the womb—has increased from 2.8 cases per 1,000 births in 2008 to 7.3 per 1,000 in 2015. Drug companies have adopted "a 50-state strategy" to "kill or weaken" anti-opioid legislation. The Associated Press has released a lengthy investigative piece that chronicles the efforts of prescription drug makers to use their already-formidable lobbying arm to fight restrictions on opioids, including "funding advocacy groups that use the veneer of independence." The tactics are being used at both the federal and state levels, according to the report. Both Trump and Clinton have weighed in. From Business Insider: a look at how both presidential candidates have talked about the opioid epidemic—with 1 candidate pressing for the wider adoption of pain treatment guidelines that "identify treatments other than opioids." Housed at MoveForwardPT.com/ChoosePT, the #ChoosePT campaign now includes a video public service announcement, as well as other targeted advertising and media outreach. APTA is also a member of the White House’s working group addressing the opioid epidemic.