On Tuesday, March 29, 2016, the Obama Administration announced new initiatives to increase access to treatment, ensure comparable coverage of mental health and substance abuse disorders, strengthen societal response to opioid abuse and its rapid expansion and mandatory education and training based on the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Guideline for Prescribing Opioids for chronic pain.
Overdoses from Heroin and other Opioids such as Oxycodone and Fentanyl are the leading cause of unintentional deaths in America. In the United States, Opioid overdoses take 1 life every 19 minutes. From 2013 to 2014, deaths increased 14 percent and the Obama administration wants to aggressively address this epidemic.
One of the initiatives looks to utilize Methadone and Buprenorphine programs to allow addicts the opportunity to recover from Opioid dependency while minimizing the severity of the withdrawal symptoms. These medically-assisted programs have proven to render some level of success.
Obama Supports Medicated-Assistance Treatment for Opiate Abuse
Methadone maintenance and Buprenorphine treatment programs are effective in getting Opiate addicts to quit using, and Obama is taking this seriously as reducing Opioid addicts in society will, in turn, reduce associated criminal activity, needle sharing, HIV infections, commercial sex trade, suicides, and Opioid drug overdoses.
Methadone treatment, itself has shown to improve the health and productivity within those who struggle with an Opioid addiction. Opponents to medication-assisted treatment programs believe that the use of Methadone and Buprenorphine is just trading one dangerous addiction for another – supported by the fact that both Methadone and Buprenorphine are also highly addictive substances. Obama administration includes that medically assisted tapering will be implemented in these programs in order to appropriately moderate usage.
The Obama Administration’s director of the White House Office of National Drug Control Policy stated in a call with reporters that expanding access to medication-assisted treatment for Opioid use disorders has been a top priority based on research on successful recoveries. Medication-assisted treatment, coupled with behavioral therapy yields to a successful and sustainable recovery from Opioid Addiction.
Obama Administration Funding Opioid Treatment
Obama’s initiatives have perpetuated the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) to allow an $11 million funding opportunity to expand medication-assisted treatment programs. Another $94 million will go to fund treatment services for 271 Community Health Centers in the United States.
The current law limits each qualified physician treat only 100 patients with Buprenorphine for Opioid dependency. The Federal Government is aiming to expand that cap to 200 patients.
Obama will sign a Memorandum that will contribute to his commitment to combating the Opioid Abuse issue. This will orchestrate the production of an interagency Task Force that will expedite access to Mental Health and Substance use disorder treatment, encourage compliance with best practices, and develop added agency guidance as needed.
Obama’s Pledge to Confront Opioid Abuse
President Obama has been proactive in attacking the epidemic of Opioid addiction and abuse from a pragmatic standpoint. The War on Drugs has proven to be costly and ineffective if not counterproductive.
Expanding treatment and health insurance benefits is much more cost-efficient and constructive overall. Treatment programs are by far more effective at rehabilitating and Opioid addict than a jail or prison sentence. Drug rehabs and 12-step treatment programs teach long-term tools that addicts need to remain clean and live productive lives.
If you are struggling with severe Opioid addiction and need treatment, help is a phone call away. With Obama’s initiatives at play, we will finally have the resources available to stop this Opioid epidemic in its tracks so that our society increasingly facilitates more recovering, contributing citizens.