Fort Lauderdale, FL - In an effort to help curb the recent increase in opioid overdoses and fatalities, President Biden has eased requirements physicians must follow to prescribe opioid addiction treatment.
This is a topic highly personal to Biden, whose own son, Hunter, struggled for decades with drug and alcohol addiction. Hunter Biden’s recently published book, “Beautiful Things,” speaks candidly about his long, public battle with addiction and what it took for him to be successful in recovery.
During his presidential campaign, Biden frequently spoke about his plans to increase access to treatment for opioid addiction by removing restrictions on buprenorphine prescription. Providers (doctors, nurse practitioners, physician assistants, etc) are now able to prescribe buprenorphine without extensive training that was once required to prescribe it. Under the previous administration, providers needed to attend an eight-hour federally mandated training to be able to complete an “X” waiver allowing them to prescribe buprenorphine.
Removing this requirement is intended to make this potentially life-saving treatment for opioid addiction available to a wider audience. Buprenorphine is an opioid agonist that can be used as part of a comprehensive treatment plan that includes both medication and traditional therapies, like counseling and behavioral therapies. Buprenorphine works by decreasing withdrawal symptoms, cravings, and physical dependence on opioids. Research has shown that people taking buprenorphine have significantly lower rates of incarceration and unemployment, and are less likely to contract HIV or Hepatitis.
The need for these changes is highlighted by the explosion of fatal overdoses reported in 2020. Initial reports show that a record 90,000 people died from drug overdoses, and 67,000 of those were from opioids.
The COVID-19 pandemic has played a significant role in those numbers. The pandemic has impacted nearly every aspect of life, and mental health and substance abuse issues are at an all-time high. Tom Coderre, assistant secretary for the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, recently stated, “The need for more accessible medication-based services has never been more urgent than it is today.”
By easing restrictions on who can prescribe buprenorphine, the Biden administration hopes that addiction treatment will become incorporated into primary care offices as well as emergency rooms.
The Source Addiction Treatment Center in Fort Lauderdale offers medication-assisted treatment to clients who need it in early recovery and long term. Medication is supplemented with intensive therapies to treat each patient holistically and help them heal from past traumas and other underlying causes of addiction. For anyone struggling with addiction who would like more information on medically assisted treatment or any other aspect of care, The Source is available 24/7 at (800) 204-0418. Information can also be found at www.thesourcetreatmentcenter.com.
SOURCE: Press Advantage [Link]
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