Obama Announces New Measures To Fight Opioid, Heroin Abuse Epidemic
Mar 30, 2016 12:50 AM EDT
During a major anti-addiction summit in Atlanta, United States President Barack Obama has talked about the death toll of people using opioid and heroin. He has announced new measures to try and stop the epidemic from growing even more.
In a report by Politico, the proposals offered by Obama during the National RX Abuse and Heroin Summit include doubling the number of patients that doctors can provide medication-assisted treatment for opioid addiction to.
Currently, 100 people are being assisted and the president wants it to reach 200. Medication Assisted Treatments, specifically buprenorphine, is proven to have succeeded in treating opioid abuse but it has been subjected to tight restrictions. Doctors are required to undergo an eight-hour training in order to prescribe the medication but they are limited to prescribing it only to 100 patients at a time, Yahoo News reported.
Aside from increasing the capping of patients from 100 to 200, expansion of the number of physicians qualified of prescribing buprenorphine is also being proposed, CNN reported. The Substance Abuse Mental Health Services Administration (SAMSHA) is now planning to organize buprenorphine prescriber training for physicians in states with the greatest need. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has also released new guidelines for the trainings.
Another proposal is that an increase in federal funding for law enforcement programs aiming to crack down trafficking of heroin and other prescription pills should be implemented. This is to equip and train more responders. The Department of Agriculture is also proposed to expand their Rural Health and Safety Education Grant Program so as to tackle challenges related to substance abuse in rural communities.
Obama added that there are lesser number of poeple dying from traffic-related incidents as opposed to the casualties from drug overdose.
Overdose deaths from opioids, heroin, and other prescription drugs continue to be the leading cause of unintentional death for Americans. It has increased 14 percent from 2013 to 2014 as every 19 minutes, someone dies from drug overdose.