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HHS leaders call for expanded use of medications to combat opioid overdose epidemic
Date:4/24/2014

nd responding appropriately to overdose, specific drug-use behaviors to avoid, and the role of naloxone in preventing fatal overdose.

"SAMHSA's Opioid Overdose Toolkit is the first federal resource to provide safety and prevention information for those at risk for overdose and for their loved ones," said co-author and SAMHSA Administrator Pamela S. Hyde, J.D. "It also gives local governments the information they need to develop policies and practices to help prevent and respond appropriately to opioid-related overdose."

CMS is working to enhance access to medication-assisted therapies through a more comprehensive benefit design, as well as a more robust application of the Mental Health Parity and Addiction Equity Act.

"Appropriate access to medication-assisted therapies under Medicaid is a key piece of the strategy to address the rising rate of death from overdoses of prescription opioids," said co-author Stephen Cha, M.D., M.H.S., chief medical officer for the Center for Medicaid and CHIP [Children's Health Insurance Program] Services at CMS. "CMS is collaborating closely with partners across the country, inside and outside government, to improve care to address this widespread problem."

However, the authors point out that success of these strategies requires engagement and participation of the medical community.

The growing availability of prescription opioids has increased risks for people undergoing treatment for pain and created an environment and marketplace of diversion, where people who are not seeking these medications for medical reasons abuse and sell the drugs because they can produce a high.

More than 16,000 people die every year in this country from prescription opioid overdoses, more than heroin and cocaine combined. According to SAMHSA's 2012 National Survey on Drug Use and Health, almost 2.1 million people in the United States were dependent upon or abusing opioid pain relievers. More informatio
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Contact: NIDA Press Team
media@nida.nih.gov
301-443-6245
NIH/National Institute on Drug Abuse
Source:Eurekalert  

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