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We're Changing the Conversation About Substance Use Disorders

At Cigna, we know that compassion and community efforts help solve problems. Shame and blame do not. We’re committed to changing the conversation about substance use disorders and working to reduce our customers’ opioid use by 25% by 2019.

An estimated 2.1 million Americans are living with substance use disorders related to prescription opioid pain relievers and more than 28,000 Americans die yearly from opioid overdoses. Veterans are particularly vulnerable.

There are currently 68,000 veterans living with opioid use disorders. They are twice as likely as non-veterans to die from accidental overdoses.

When it comes to the brave men and women who have had our backs, we feel it’s an obligation to help.

National stakeholders – including the White House, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS), the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), the Veterans Health Administration (VA) and Cigna – are working on new approaches to help combat this public health epidemic.

Finding a long-term solution means modernizing the approach to prevention, treatment and communication regarding substance use disorders. Let’s work together, instead of finding blame, to stop the stigma and identify the right solutions.


Opioid epidemic FAQs


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.


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.


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.