A drug approved for private physicians to treat opioid addiction is being underprescribed, and a survey of addiction specialists suggests that many of them are not willing to increase their use of it, despite an expanding opioid addiction epidemic in the United States, according to research presented at the 125th Annual Convention of the American Psychological Association.
Two opioid replacement medications are currently approved for opioid use disorder: methadone, which under federal law must be dispensed from authorized clinics, and buprenorphine, which can be used to treat opioid addiction in the privacy of a physician’s office, so long as the physician has the proper waivers.
Full story at Science Daily
Health and Human Services Secretary Tom Price’s description of medication-assisted treatment for addiction as “substituting one opioid for another” is inaccurate, according to addiction experts who have asked Price to “set the record straight.”
A letter to Price signed by almost 700 researchers and practitioners notes there is a substantial body of research showing that methadone and buprenorphine, also known as medication-assisted treatment, are effective in treating opioid addiction. These medications, which are opioids, have been the standard of care for addiction treatment for years, they wrote.
Full story of Tom Price’s description of medication-assisted treatment at drugfree.org
Opioid addiction treatment experts say although the evidence is clear that medication-assisted treatment is the best way to tackle the nation’s opioid epidemic, there is still a stigma attached to using these medications.
Only a small percentage of the more than 4 million people who abuse prescription painkillers or heroin in the United States use one of these medications, methadone or buprenorphine, NPR reports. These treatments have been proven to reduce relapses and overdoses, the article notes.
While limited availability of these treatments is an issue, stigma around the use of addiction medications also prevents some people from using them, experts say.
Full story of medication-assisted treatment to tackle the opioid epidemic at drugfree.org