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Effective Rx thwarted for deadly opioid epidemic
Date:6/21/2013

buse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA). These restrictions may risk patient safety and lead to suffering and death with no clear therapeutic objective. With no single national practice guideline on use of pharmacotherapies for opioid addiction, states and payers are filling in a much-needed gap.

Denial of access 'unethical'
"The fact that patients are frequently denied access to the full spectrum of treatment options for addiction is unethical and would constitute malpractice in other medical specialties and chronic disease treatment," said Thomas McLellan, a report author who is CEO of the Treatment Research Institute and former Deputy Director of the White House Office of National Drug Control Policy. "Treatment of addiction must be raised to the same medical and ethical standards as treatment for other chronic diseases. This needs to be acknowledged by the treatment community, medical specialties, insurance companies and all levels of government."

According to the reports, none of the medications by themselves can be considered effective treatments for opioid dependence. All medications are designed for use as part of comprehensive treatment strategies that usually include counseling, social supports and behavioral change strategies. But research shows they can be vital treatment components that raise treatment success rates.

"Medical science supports the use of addiction medications to effectively treat the disease of addiction," Dr. Gitlow said. "This science must be the basis of state policies, insurance coverage and national standards for the treatment of addiction. We want to work with public and private payers to identify models of patient access that can be shared broadly. Restrictions by states and insurance companies make no sense when opioid addiction and overdose deaths have grown into a national epidemic."


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SOURCE American Society of Addiction Medicine
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