In his final months of the presidency, Obama has made it a central mission of his administration to do as much as possible to assist those suffering in the opioid epidemic. In a press conference on March 29th, the president outlined several efforts currently underway that are treatment- and prevention-focused.
What are the key points?
The main focuses of the administration include:
- Expanding access to medication-assisted treatment for opioid-use disorders
- Increasing amount of buprenorphine physicians can prescribe
- $11 million for state efforts to expand medication-assisted treatment programs
- $94 million in new funding for treatment services to 271 community health centers
- $11 million to increase naloxone access
- Establishing a Mental Health and Substance Use Disorder Parity Task Force
- Ensuring that mental health and substance use benefits are offered as medical and surgical benefits for those enrolled in Medicaid and the Children’s Health Insurance Program
- $7 million toward policing and investigating heroin distribution
- Guidance from DHHS for federally funded needle exchange programs.
This is just another step in several recent efforts by government and federal agencies to stand against the opiate epidemic and try to present realistic, effective solutions. With heroin and other opiates killing people in record numbers across the country, this effort is extremely welcomed and long overdue. Hopefully, this is just the beginning of a nationwide effort to help the already addicted, and prevent more from falling victim to opiates.