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Comparative Analysis of State Level Health Policy Support for Opioid Abuse Mitigation in Rural America

Carrie S. Shaver, James A. Johnson, Richard G. Greenhill and Sudha Nadimidla
JHHSA, Vol. 44 No. 2, 137-161 (2021)

In rural America, opioid use disorder (OUD) continues to adversely impacted familial, public, and economic systems, creating extraordinary societal and financial burden. This comparative analysis of state-level public health policy and practices in rural opioid use abatement promotes the development and implementation of contextualized evidence-based comprehensive policy initiatives. Policy analysis across select highly affected states (Indiana, Kansas, Kentucky, and West Virginia) and exemplar OUD policy response states (Colorado, Massachusetts, Ohio, and Vermont) was performed using a systematic review of literature, legislation, plans, and policies. Findings included close alignment between states’ OUD policies and public health best practice standards; minimized differences between exemplar and highly affected states policy responses; and resource driven gaps in opioid epidemic legislation, regulation, guidelines, strategic plans, and initiatives. Furthermore, it is advocated that public and private stakeholders committed to health equity must seek reductions in opioid related disease and mortality through increased resource allocation.

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