Thursday, November 2, 2017

APA Pledges Support of Efforts to Address Opioid Crisis

Following the release of the final report by the President’s Commission on Combating Drug Abuse and the Opioid Crisis on Wednesday, APA pledged its support to work with the Trump administration, Congress, and states to address the nation’s opioid crisis.

“The APA welcomes the final report because it helps bring much-needed attention to this crisis,” said APA CEO and Medical Director Saul Levin, M.D., M.P.A. "Our organization trains thousands of clinicians each year in the diagnosis and treatment of those with opioid use disorders. Additionally, we are an active partner in the Providers’ Clinical Support System for Medication Assisted Treatment coalition funded by SAMHSA. This national initiative provides training and mentoring in response to the prescription opioid misuse epidemic and increases the availability of pharmacotherapies to address opioid use disorder.”

The 138-page report includes more than 50 recommendations, broken down into the following categories:
  • Federal funding and programs
  • Opioid addiction prevention
  • Opioid addiction treatment, overdose reversal, and recovery
  • Research and development
In an initial response to the report, APA was pleased to see that it includes some of its recommendations such as enforcement of the Mental Health Parity and Addiction Equity Act, the development of a national media campaign to address the stigma of substance use, improved data surveillance systems, and improved access to drug courts and medication-assisted treatment in the criminal justice system. While the report aims to provide a comprehensive strategy for addressing the opioid crisis, however, APA noted that it does not include a funding request to implement many of the recommendations.

In a letter addressed to President Donald Trump introducing the report, New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, chairman of the President’s Commission on Combating Drug Abuse and the Opioid Crisis, wrote, “It is time we all say what we know is true: addiction is a disease. However, we do not treat addiction in this country like we treat other diseases. Neither government nor the private sector has committed the support necessary for research, prevention, and treatment like we do for other diseases.”

He continued, “As you will see in the Commission’s recommendations, the Federal Government has a number of avenues through which it can ensure that individuals with addiction disorders get the help they need, including changing CMS reimbursement policies, enforcing parity laws against non-compliant insurers, promoting access to rural communities through such tools as telemedicine, and incenting a larger treatment workforce to address the broad scope of the crisis.”

Levin added, “We are still reviewing the report’s contents for a full evaluation, but we stand ready to work with the administration, Congress, and the states to help provide education, funding, training, and support to address the opioid crisis.”

(Image: iStock/bboserup)


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