Everyday we read articles regarding awareness and prevention meetings nationwide to address the opiate epidemic. The message has been broadcast and America is aware of the extent of the horror. For the most part the CDC guidelines for medical professionals prescribing opiates for pain has limited the number of new drug opiod abusers in America. What we are left with however is more than three million people needing to overcome their current life threatening addiction to these drugs.
Here is the groundwork that will effectively treat these current addicts and get America back on track and away from a losing battle against addiction:
- Make substance abuse treatment more readily available – this means opening more facilities and holding insurance companies accountable for paying for people seeking treatment
- Increased oversight and regulation of substance abuse facilities– this should occur on a state and national level to help the industry increase credibility and effectiveness
- Create a national standard of care for treatment – this will create one proven national model that will be the basis of what substance abuse treatment should consist of. ASAM and SAMHSA already have data that offers effective treatment options. This will create greater continuity within treatments and offer more strict parameters for insurance companies to reimburse services rendered.
- Create more effective treatment – Studies have proven that MAT, medication assisted treatment, with counseling is the most effective treatment for Opiod Use Disorder. A good portion of the substance abuse industry is still stuck on abstinence based treatment which is creating too many relapses and overdoses and often causing a revolving door of treatment.
- Create broader scopes of treatment services –Home Health Care as we know it within the elderly population can be effectively utilized when treating Opiod Use Disorder. Allow at home medication management and observation of detoxes to be reimbursable services by insurance companies. This allows for safe and effective detox and medication management and also teaches life skills. All while an addict is learning how to remain sober in his/her own home and steering clear of poor influences as if in a communal setting such as a rehab facility.
- Ensure that physicians prescribing buprenorphine for opiod abusers have a plan to effectively monitor and manage counseling services being provided. Buprenorphine with limited or no counseling support is just substituting one drug for another.
- Continue to lessen the punishment given to non-violent drug offenders and use the SBIRT, Screening Brief Intervention Referral to Treatment, program to offer them help for their addiction.
- Hold the pharmaceutical corporations responsible for this epidemic accountable to pay for treatment of anyone who has been prescribed their medication for a given length of time. It is scientifically proven that opiates are absolutely not effective with pain management for longer than six months.
- State and national politician should continue to pass laws for all of the above mentioned solutions to the opiod epidemic.
Notice there is no mention of building walls and declaring war on drug cartels. The opiod epidemic was created on American soil and the way to overcome it is to hold the American’s who created it responsible and limit the demand from within.
Don’t let the below banner from Nation Review be the way America chooses to help our sick. That is just another bandaid for a bullet wound. Create change and make a difference for America!