Advocates Aim to Protect Insurance Coverage for Addiction Treatment

Addiction treatment advocates are trying to convince Republican legislators in states greatly impacted by the opioid epidemic to protect insurance coverage for substance abuse treatment if the Affordable Care Act (ACA) is repealed.

Repealing the ACA without having a plan in place to preserve coverage would weaken efforts to address the opioid crisis, according to Gary Mendell, founder of Shatterproof, a nonprofit that advocates for legislation to fight addiction. Shatterproof is working with the National Council for Behavioral Health, which represents 2,800 providers of mental health and addiction treatment, The Wall Street Journal reports.

Full story of advocates trying to protect coverage for addiction treatment at drugfree.org

Police Programs Focusing on Treatment Over Jail May Lose Support Under Trump

Police organizations promoting an approach to opioids that emphasizes treatment over jail are concerned the incoming Trump Administration may focus on prosecution rather than treatment, Scientific American reports.

So-called ANGEL programs, which started in Gloucester, Massachusetts in 2015, have been expanded to hundreds of police departments nationwide. The Obama Administration has supported the programs, the article notes.

Comments from Senator Jeff Sessions, the nominee for Attorney General, indicate the incoming administration may focus first on reducing the supply of illegal drugs coming in from Mexico.

Full story of opioid treatment programs in jail and Trump support at drugfree.org

Repeal of Obamacare Could Reduce Coverage for Addiction Treatment

People with addiction and mental health disorders and their treatment providers are worried that repealing the Affordable Care Act (ACA) could reduce insurance coverage for these disorders, USA Today reports.

Almost 30 percent of people who received coverage through the ACA’s Medicaid expansion have a mental disorder or a substance use disorder, according to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration. Partially repealing ACA would do away with Medicaid expansion, and would most likely replace it with block grants that would require states to make cuts in what is covered, how much is spent and how many people can receive coverage.

Full story of Obamacare repeal and addiction treatment at drugfree.org

Surgeon General Report Calls for Increasing Access to Addiction Treatment

U.S. Surgeon General Dr. Vivek Murthy issued a report Thursday that calls for increasing access to addiction treatment. According to Reuters, the report calls drug and alcohol addiction a public health crisis.

“The most important thing is, we have to change attitudes towards addiction and get people into treatment,” Murthy told Reuters. “Addiction is a disease of the brain, not a character flaw.”

Full story of increasing access to addiction treatment at drugfree.org

States Receive $53 Million in Grants to Fight Opioid Epidemic

Forty-four states will receive a total of $53 million in grants from the Obama Administration to fight the opioid epidemic, the Los Angeles Times reports. Administration officials are calling on legislators to approve $1.1 billion requested by President Obama to increase addiction treatment.

The new state funds will include money to provide first responders with the opioid overdose antidote naloxone. Michael Botticelli, Director of the Office of National Drug Control Policy, said more help is needed. “Simply reviving people isn’t enough to turn the tide of this epidemic,” he said.

Full story of state grants to fight opioid epidemic at drugfree.org