A study recently released in Public Health Reports—the official journal of the U.S. Surgeon General—used data from NASADAD’s 2015 inquiry on States’ efforts to address prescription drug misuse and heroin use to describe how States are combatting the opioid epidemic. The article, titled How States Are Tackling the Opioid Crisis, is the first of its kind to quantify and summarize State-level efforts to combat prescription drug and opioid addiction. As federal initiatives by Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) and the Office of National Drug Control Policy (ONDCP) aim to improve substance use disorder prevention and treatment, this article outlines the critical role that States—in particular the State alcohol and drug agencies—have in addressing the opioid crisis. The initiatives undertaken by States that are highlighted in the article include:
Educating the general public, prescribers, patients and families, and pharmacists about the risks of opioids;
Increasing funding for medication-assisted treatment;
Expanding the availability of naloxone;
Establishing guidelines for safe opioid prescribing;
Requiring prescriber use of prescription monitoring programs;
Enacting Good Samaritan laws to protect those helping treat overdoses; and
Enacting legislation to regulate pain clinics.
Authors offer a review of the literature, noting that State alcohol and drug agencies’ efforts to address opioid misuse and addiction align with intervention models that have been previously evaluated. The article recognizes that State alcohol and drug agencies have demonstrated a robust response to the opioid crisis, and concludes that future efforts should “focus on maintenance and further expansion of the high-quality, evidence-based practices, policies, and programs” that States are already implementing.
NASADAD has released a section-by-section summary of the 21st Century Cures Act, which was signed into law by President Obama in December 2016. The Cures Act was originally designed to promote innovations in medical research, but the Act, as signed into law, contains numerous other initiatives, including several provisions related to substance use disorders.
Earlier this month Kathy Stone, Director of Addiction in the Iowa Department of Public Health and NASADAD member, received the ninth Annual Ramstad-Kennedy Award for Outstanding Leadership by a Single State Authority (SSA). In particular, Ms. Stone was honored for her leadership in recovery support programs across Iowa and across the country.
The Ramstad-Kennedy Award was established in 2008 to recognize an SSA Director who has demonstrated exceptional leadership in support of recovery and National Recovery Month, and to acknowledge Congressmen Jim Ramstad (R-MN) and Patrick Kennedy (D-RI) for their commitment to recovery and recovery-oriented policies. This year’s Ramstad-Kennedy award was presented on August 10th at the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration’s (SAMHSA) National Block Grant Conference. Ms. Stone received the award because of her leadership and innovation in promoting the goals of National Recovery Month in her State; expansion of Recovery Month activities within her agency and throughout local communities; and support for recovery organizations in their State.
In a statement, Congressman Kennedy said that “… all of the recipients, including Kathy Stone, have been champions of recovery for not just those suffering from a substance use disorder but also for all their family members who themselves are affected by the family disease of addiction.” The award was presented in advance of the 2016 National Recovery Month, which will be observed in September with the theme Join the Voices of Recovery: Our Families, Our Stories, Our Recovery.
NASADAD has released an updated section-by-section analysis of the Comprehensive Addiction and Recovery Act (CARA; S. 524), as passed by the President. CARA includes various provisions to address opioid use disorders, including those related to prevention and education, treatment, recovery, law enforcement, and services for women, families, and veterans. After passing the House with a vote of 407-5 on July 8th and the Senate with a vote of 92-2 on July 13th, the bill was signed into law by President Obama on July 22nd.
Access NASADAD’s section-by-section analysis of the bill here.
President Obama plans to deliver a speech at the 2016 National Rx Drug Abuse & Heroin Summit on 3/29 at 2:15 PM EST. The President’s remarks will discuss the actions currently being taken to prevent the spread of opioid use disorders and will examine future policies for expanding access to treatment.
The speech is the latest in a series of announcements demonstrating President Obama’s commitment to addressing the opioid crisis. The President’s proposed FY 2017 budget requests $1.1 billion in new spending to expand State access to medication-assisted treatment (MAT). Michael Botticelli, Director of the Office of National Drug Control Policy, writes that the Administration is also:
“Expanding access to treatment through doctors, community health centers, and state programs.
Investing in partnerships between law enforcement and communities.
Working to save more lives by making the overdose reversal drug naloxone more readily available to first responders.
Ensuring those on Medicaid and CHIP can access mental health and substance use services as readily as medical services.
Pulling together medical schools to train students on the newest CDC guidelines for prescribing opioid painkillers.”
View the Administration’s new series of proposals to address the opioid epidemic here.