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Updated: October 22, 2021
Addiction Professionals Support Biden's Commitment to OUD Solutions
A recent letter to the Acting Director of Health and Human Services in the Biden administration urged action for expanding the availability of Medication-Assisted Treatment through the Office of National Drug Control Policy. This comes on the heels of Biden suspending the former administration's OUD (opioid use disorder) guidelines.
Who Sent the Letter on OUD Treatment?
In response to a recent retraction of Trump guidelines, the letter announced on January 27, 2021, was written by the American Academy of Addiction Psychiatry (AAAP) and signed by representatives from seven representatives with over 150,000 members and 2200 treatment centers. The Biden administration recently decided to withdraw the previous administration's Practicing Guidelines for Administration of Buprenorphine for Treating Opioid Use Disorder to update them and provide better access.
Medication-Assisted Treatment: Science-Based OUD Tools
The letter from AAAP implored the Biden administration to expand access to science-based medication. Buprenorphine, methadone and naltrexone are all medications that have been proven to help people get and stay sober.
Medications that help people addicted to opioids are crucial in assisting them to avoid the compulsion to use. Buprenorphine and methadone help people prevent painful and challenging withdrawal symptoms.
For many treatment programs, the idea of medication carries a stigma. Because of this, it's vitally important that more doctors are educated about how MAT works and how it should be administered. Many medical professionals have felt uncomfortable prescribing it because of a lack of education.
Opioids are notoriously tricky to cease using due to the problematic withdrawal symptoms they cause when a person quits using.
Opioid Prescribing Education and Guidance
The letter for AAAP also says that the Biden administration needs to begin a focus on opioid addiction prevention. They say that this means requiring all prescribers of opioids to be taught about opioids dependence, addiction, and withdrawal.
Preventing opioid addiction is the best long-term strategy for ending the opioid epidemic. It's unclear what path the Biden administration will decide to take regarding new addiction recovery health policies.
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