DES MOINES – Iowa Attorney General Tom Miller announced an initiative designed to prevent opioid addiction before it begins. The Billion Pill Pledge program, launched in conjunction with Goldfinch Health, extends education and resources to hospitals and providers in several communities across Iowa.
Deploying evidence-based approaches to pain management around surgery, the Billion Pill Pledge program aims to enact long-term change for Iowa communities.
“The opioid settlements offer a new path forward in preventing future addiction and providing treatment resources to those who need it,” Miller said. “It’s our goal with this program to extend support to rural communities and, especially, to those within these communities who are at-risk or who have already been harmed by the opioid epidemic.”
The first phase of the Billion Pill Pledge program targets 10 hospitals serving rural communities across the state. The hospitals will be announced in coming weeks.
Surgery has long been known as a gateway to long-term opioid painkiller use and dependence. Patients who had no previous opioid use become addicted after being legally prescribed opioids after a surgery. Advances in medicine make possible better surgery experiences for patients, improved pain management, and less use of opioids.
“We know so much more about surgery and pain management now than we did 10 or 20 years ago,” said John Greenwood, COO and co-founder of Goldfinch Health and the Billion Pill Pledge. “With a few practical changes to the way both healthcare providers and patients approach surgery, we can reduce the number of opioids prescribed for patients and introduced into our communities by over 50%. And we can have happier patients with better managed pain at the same time.”
The mission of the Billion Pill Pledge is to reduce leftover opioids after surgery in the United States by 1 billion pills each year, thereby avoiding those pills being possibly diverted to unauthorized use by others
Miller is using money from a settlement with consultant McKinsey & Co. to support the Billion Pill Pledge program.
Last year, the Iowa Attorney General’s office signed an agreement with University of Iowa Health Care to develop a comprehensive, statewide opioid treatment program using $3.8 million in settlement funds.
Goldfinch Health is an Iowa City-based company dedicated to enhancing surgical outcomes, improving the surgery experience for patients, and reducing opioid use.