AMA Releasing Steps States Should Take to Deal With Opioid Epidemic
Although there are positive signs that the United States is finally beginning to turn the tide against the current opioid crisis, the country still needs to do more in order to reduce the number of people who are dying of opioid related overdoses on a daily basis.
The American Medical Association (AMA) has now published information concerning the steps it believes states should take in order to increase the ability of the US to deal successfully with the current opioid epidemic.
The AMA’s Report Comes After Careful Study of Four States and Their Reaction to the Opioid Crisis
This information has been arrived at by a careful study of the responses of four states to the problem of opioid related overdoes. Those states are Colorado, Pennsylvania, North Carolina and Mississippi.
“We are at a crossroads in our nation’s efforts to end the opioid epidemic, and states are being creative on how they respond,” said Patrice A. Harris, MD, MA, president of the AMA. “It is time to end delays and barriers to treatment; time for payers, [pharmacy benefit managers] and pharmacy chains to revise policies that restrict opioid therapy to patients based on arbitrary thresholds; and time to help all patients access evidence-based care for pain and substance use disorders.”
Four steps have been identified as key factors in curbing opioid related deaths:
- Increase access to medication-assisted treatment
This includes the removal of barriers such as FDA authorization for such substance use disorder treatments as methadone, buprenorphine and naltrexone.
- Increase parity enforcement for mental health issues
Comprehensive public and private insurance coverage of substance use disorder treatments should be equitable to other common benefits like surgery and medicine.
- Enforce laws concerning network adequacy and increase capacity
States need to accurately measure the needs of people suffering from opioid dependency issues and make sure there is enough capacity to deal with them.
- Increase paths to comprehensive pain care
Encourage physicians to explore and investigate the use of pain medication beyond the prescription of opioid based medication
“Physicians must continue to demonstrate leadership, but unless and until these actions occur, the progress we are making will not stop patients from dying,” Harris concluded.
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