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With Nation's Physicians, Cigna  Addresses Substance Use Disorders

At Cigna, we know that compassion and community efforts help solve problems. Shame and blame do not. That’s why in May 2016, Cigna brought together resources across its medical, behavioral and pharmacy programs to identify ways that the company could harness its physician-partnership model to interrupt the cycle of addiction while assuring that people who have no alternatives to manage their pain retained clinically appropriate access to the remedies prescribed by their doctor.

Reducing risk of prescription opioid misuse is an important part of combatting the opioid epidemic, and we’ve made a lot of progress. In fact, Cigna reduced prescription opioid use among our commercial customers by 25 percent in two years in partnership with 1.1 million prescribers.

For people struggling to manage pain and for those dealing with addiction, more has to be done to support them along with their families, employers and communities.

On June 21st, Cigna intensified its commitment to reduce the number of opioid overdoses by 25% among its commercial customers in targeted U.S. communities by December 2021. Through new drug prevention and treatment efforts, the company will apply extensive, integrated experience in helping people with chronic conditions across medical, behavioral and pharmacy benefits, and will collaborate with employers, customers, prescribing clinicians, pharmacists, dentists and community-based organizations. Read the press release

Finding a long-term solution for substance use disorders – and high overdose rates1 – means modernizing the approach to prevention, treatment, and communication. Join us. Let’s continue to work together, instead of finding blame, to stop the stigma and identify the right solutions.

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Prioritize Prevention

We need to think of substance use disorders as a chronic disease. We must help protect those who may be at-risk. For those who already live with a substance use disorder, we need a health care system that supports early detection and prioritizes an integrated, holistic approach to health. This requires a focus on total health – mind and body – so that individuals can stay healthy, saving health care costs.

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Reduce Stigma

The lexicon around substance use disorders is riddled with “blame” words like “abuse.” Health care leaders must adopt a new mindset when addressing this epidemic by ending blame to find real solutions that positions substance use disorders as the chronic disease that it is.

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Integrate Evidence-Based Treatment

Cigna believes in the need for faster adoption of performance measures that have proven to be effective so that we treat substance use disorders as we treat physical illness. We encourage all providers to adopt the CDC's 2016 guidelines for acute and chronic use of opioids, transition away from high-dose opioids and move toward a comprehensive treatment plan for chronic pain management. We support the adoption of medication-assisted, multidisciplinary substance use disorder treatment programs. Learn more about treatments for substance use disorders.