In Fight Against Opioid Addiction, Congress Focuses on Treatment, Not Restricting Access

In Fight Against Opioid Addiction, Congress Focuses on Treatment, Not Restricting Access
Congress is focusing on expanding treatment for opioid addiction instead of restricting access to painkillers in its efforts to address the opioid epidemic, The New York Times reports. Legislators seem to be willing to allow opioid prescriptions to remain widely accessible, the article notes. The U.S. House, after overwhelmingly approving 18 bills last week aimed at addressing the nation’s opioid crisis, will work with the Senate to craft compromise legislation. The bills would increase prescription drug monitoring and treatment; fund efforts to dispose of prescription drugs; and assist states that want to expand the availability of the opioid overdose antidote naloxone. The Senate bill would expand the availability of medication-assisted treatment, including in criminal justice settings, and would support treatment as an alternative to incarceration. Last month, Congress passed a measure, signed by President Obama, that limited the powers of the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) to go after pharmacies and...
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U.S. House Task Force Introduces Bills to Fight Opioid Addiction

U.S. House Task Force Introduces Bills to Fight Opioid Addiction
A bipartisan group of members of the U.S. House of Representatives presented 15 bills aimed at fighting opioid addiction, according to The Hill. The legislation introduced by the Bipartisan Task Force to Combat the Heroin Epidemic includes $85 million in local grants, as well as $10 million for prescription drug monitoring programs. It also includes legislation that would reform opioid prescription practices, increase access to the opioid overdose medication naloxone, and update Veterans Administration pain treatment procedures. In March, the U.S. Senate voted 94-1 to pass the Comprehensive Addiction and Recovery Act (CARA). The measure authorizes funds for various drug treatment and prevention programs for a wide range of people, including those in jail. CARA expands prescription drug take-back programs and establishes monitoring to prevent over-prescribing of opioid painkillers. It expands the availability of medication-assisted treatment, including in criminal justice settings, and supports treatment as an alternative to incarceration. The...
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FDA Announces Plan to Reassess Approach to Opioids

FDA Announces Plan to Reassess Approach to Opioids
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has announced it will reassess its approach to opioid medications, in an effort to reverse the epidemic of abuse. The plan comes in response to pressure from Congress, The New York Times reports. FDA Deputy Commissioner for Medical Products and Tobacco Dr. Robert Califf said Thursday the agency will toughen its response to the opioid crisis, while still allowing patients in pain to have access to effective relief. The agency said it will convene an expert panel before approving new opioids. It will toughen requirements to study drugs after they come to market, and increase access to pain management training for physicians and other prescribers. “Things are getting worse, not better, with the epidemic of opioid misuse, abuse and dependence,” Califf said in a news release. “It’s time we all took a step back to look at what is working and what we...
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Small Number of Doctors Prescribing Buprenorphine

Small Number of Doctors Prescribing Buprenorphine
Despite the rising rate of addiction to opioids, a relatively small number of doctors are authorized and willing to prescribe buprenorphine to treat opioid addiction, according to Stateline . Fewer than 32,000 doctors are authorized to prescribe the treatment, and most doctors with a license to prescribe buprenorphine seldom if ever use it, the article notes. In contrast, more than 900,000 U.S. doctors can write prescriptions for painkillers such as OxyContin, Vicodin and Percocet. Studies have found that opioid addiction medicines like buprenorphine, which is approved by the Food and Drug Administration, offers a much higher chance of recovery than treatments not involving medication, according to Stateline. Under an agreement with the federal government, California’s county-run Medicaid programs are scheduled to begin covering a full set of addiction treatment options recommended by the American Society of Addiction Medicine, including opioid addiction treatments. Unlike methadone, which is dispensed at clinics under...
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Facing Addiction and The National Council on Alcoholism and Drug Dependence (NCADD) are proud to announce the merger of our organizations – creating a national leader in turning the tide on the addiction epidemic.
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