LSU Health Psychiatry Expertise Tapped for LA Response to Opioid Crisis

Working with the Louisiana Office of Behavioral Health, LSU Health New Orleans Department of Psychiatry will receive $7.2 million to address the opioid crisis in Louisiana. The funding, which will be directed toward the delivery of a combination of treatment, training, and consultation activities, is part of  $23.5 million in grants over two years  from the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to the Louisiana Department of Health. The Louisiana State Opioid Response Program will follow an evidence-based model that integrates a center of addiction expertise as a hub with spokes – a regional network of providers.

As the only medical school in Louisiana certified by the American Board of Psychiatry and Neurology in the subspecialty of addiction psychiatry, LSU Health New Orleans School of Medicine is qualified to deliver and/or coordinate integrated supports and services designed to increase patient access to opioid use disorder treatment. LSU Health New Orleans Department of Psychiatry’s role will involve a range of training and consultation services. These services include broad-based patient and programmatic support, as well as consultation to treating physicians participating in the Louisiana State Opioid Response Program. A major responsibility for the Department of Psychiatry will be to assure opioid use disorder services are consistent with the program requirements and patient needs. This important and innovative work will be directed by Dr. Howard Osofsky, chairman of the LSU Health New Orleans Department of Psychiatry. Under Osofsky's leadership, LSU Health New Orleans Department of Psychiatry has a distinguished history of bringing innovations in care to address serious and complex behavioral health issues affecting the health of Louisiana residents.

According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse of the National Institutes of Health, in 2016, there were 346 opioid-related overdose deaths in Louisiana—a rate of 7.7 deaths per 100,000 persons—compared to the national rate of 13.3 deaths per 100,000.

Since 2012, use of heroin and synthetic opioids has increased dramatically in the state. From 2012 to 2016, heroin and synthetic opioid-related overdose deaths increased from 51 to 149 deaths and from 19 to 89 deaths, respectively.

The successful implementation of this collaborative endeavor led by the Office of Behavioral Health will increase much needed access to evidence-based treatment models throughout Louisiana,” noted Osofsky.