The U.S. is facing many health problems. With advancement in treatment and cures taking 80% of the global health budget, and prevention only receiving 20%, a crisis has emerged. Preventable diseases and injuries are now costing governments and communities more than just money – they are taking lives too early and too often. The Preventum Initiative will focus on public health challenges as it moves forward; however, for the foreseeable future we will focus on America’s biggest health challenge…the opioid crisis.
Preventum, the digital health company, and the Preventum Initiative share a unique partnership. Born out of the founders’ vision, these two entities have come together to solve complex health problems. Preventum is providing an exclusive licence of its patent-pending technology platform to the Preventum Initiative to advance the cause of research in prevention and treatment strategies.
At the Preventum Initiative, we recognize that as a community we cannot spend our way out of preventable problems like the opioid epidemic by just providing funding for treatment. Effective evidence-based prevention strategies also need to be provided to the community. At the Preventum Initiative we have developed four key areas of focus that provide both prevention and addiction solutions.
Drug overdose is the leading cause of accidental death in the U.S. and opioid addiction is driving this epidemic. The Preventum Initiative is currently researching and developing targeted campaigns for adult opioid use. Deployed on Preventum’s digital public health platform, these campaigns will focus on safe use, diversion, safe storage and safe disposal for acute opioid users.
Since 2014, the nonmedical use of prescription-type opioids among youth and adolescents has increase significantly, and so too have teen drug overdose deaths. The CDC reports that in 2015, 65% of drug overdose deaths among 15 to 19-years olds were from prescription painkillers (opioids), and 80% were accidental overdoses. According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, close to half of young people who have injected heroin said they had abused prescription painkillers before they started using heroin. The Preventum Initiative is working with Preventum and other partners to develop effective, tailored education campaigns aimed at youth and adolescents.
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A recent survey by the National Safety Council showed 99% of physicians exceed the CDC recommended 3-day opioid prescription dosage limit, 25% writing prescriptions for a full month and consequently overprescribe these types of medications. The Preventum Initiative is conducting research and developing campaigns that will allow hospitals, insurance companies, and governments to get better “buy-in” from physicians to change their behaviour around the number and dosage of opioid prescriptions.
Opioid addicts have a relapse rate between 40%-60%. The Preventum Initiative and its team of behavioural scientists are working to develop new ways to engage addicts in their treatment protocol. Strategies based on contingency management use machine learning and gamification to keep addicts attending and engaged in their treatment.
One American dies every 10 minutes from an opioid-related overdose
Every 25 minutes a baby is born addicted to opioids in the U.S.
$80 billion per year, cost of opioid abuse to U.S. economy