Partnering to Battle the Opioid Epidemic

See How We’re Working Together with Providers across North Carolina

Need Help Now?

Call 1-800-662-4357

Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration National Hotline

Blue Cross NC members, call the Mental Health number on the back of your ID card.

Get More Resources

Battling the opioid epidemic requires collaboration, and Blue Cross and Blue Shield of North Carolina is dedicated to working with providers across the state with the same goal – the health and safety of North Carolinians as well as the communities where they live.

Our Goal?

  • Public awareness and education of opioid use disorder
  • Developing and adopting policies and procedures to ensure safe prescribing of opioid medication and the appropriate access to treatment for opioid use disorder
  • Encouraging well-informed public policies to prevent opioid misuse, abuse, fraud and diversion

Where Does Blue Cross NC Stand?

We endorse the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention prescribing guidelines

Read CDC Guidelines


We support the North Carolina Medical Board’s provider requirements related to opioids

NCMB Prescriber Guidelines


We support the STOP Act, the latest North Carolina legislation addressing the opioid crisis passed in June, 2017

Read a Summary of the STOP Act

Among other requirements, the STOP Act (effective January 1, 2018) establishes the following guidelines for prescribing opioids:

  • Limits first-time prescriptions of targeted controlled substances for acute pain to no more than five days
  • Prescriptions following a surgical procedure limited to no more than seven days
  • Allows follow-up prescriptions as needed for pain
  • Limit does not apply to controlled substances to be wholly administered in a hospital, nursing home, hospice facility, or residential care facility
  • Dispensers not liable for dispensing a prescription that violates this limit (Effective Jan. 1, 2018)

Alternatives to Opioids*

Pharmaceutical alternatives to opioids covered by Blue Cross NC:
  • Non-steroidal anti-inflammatories (NSAIDs)
  • Lidoderm patches
  • Botox
  • Steroid injections
  • Local anesthetic trigger point injections
  • Hyaluronan injections for knee arthritis
Non- pharmaceutical alternatives covered by Blue Cross NC:
  • Chiropractic therapy
  • Physical therapy
  • Aquatic therapy
  • Biofeedback
  • TENs units
  • Hypnosis
However, there are alternative therapies that we do not cover including:
  • Hippotherapy (Horseback riding)
  • Acupuncture
  • Yoga
  • Tai-chi
  • Meditation
  • Music therapy

*Coverage may vary according to your benefit plan. Please review your benefit booklet for additional information. 

provider discussing a prescription with a patient

Medication Assisted Therapy (MAT) Treatment for Opioid Abuse or Addiction

Blue Cross NC covers:

  • Suboxone (which is buprenorphine and naloxone)
  • Subutex (which is only buprenorphine and used in pregnant patients addicted to opioids and in patients with a true naloxone allergy)
  • Implantable buprenorphine
  • Sublocade (sub cutaneous injection of buprenorphine)

National Addiction Treatment Week

Every year, the American Society of Addiction Medicine (ASAM) hosts the National Addiction Treatment Week (NATW). This week strives to raise awareness about the gap in addiction care and treatment. And to expand the workforce and awareness of the critical need for doctors to enter the field of addiction medicine. This year, NATW will be held from October 21-27, 2019. 

Learn more about the American Society of Addiction Medicine.

Additional Resources for Providers