Advocates for Opioid Recovery (AOR) advisor former House Speaker Newt Gingrich is releasing a new book this week, Trump’s America, in which he discusses the ongoing opioid epidemic and the handful of solutions that will make a significant difference in the lives of all Americans touched by addiction. Speaker Gingrich has been a steadfast proponent of evidence-based solutions to this public health crisis, which claims over 115 lives each day, and has actively promoted the gold standard of treatment—medication-assisted treatment—through his work with AOR.
“This book is about the current state of America, so of course I needed to dedicate an entire chapter to the opioid epidemic that is devastating our country,” Speaker Gingrich said. “If we fail to urgently combat this epidemic with real evidence-based treatments, a generation of Americans will be decimated because their fellow Americans refused to help them. That America would be far from great.”
Gingrich’s book, available on June 5, emphasizes AOR’s strategic recommendations. The excerpts below highlight some of Gingrich’s main points:
Ending the stigma surrounding the disease of addiction and medication-assisted treatment (MAT):
- “The research is unequivocal that behavioral therapy combined with recovery medications, such as methadone, buprenorphine, and Suboxone, is the most effective way to treat opioid addiction.” (Page 238)
- “Currently, any health care provider can prescribe an opioid for pain management, but when it comes to prescribing two of the three opioid recovery medications that exist, special circumstances and training requirements must be met. These requirements are contributing to the massive shortage of medication-assisted treatment providers.” (Pages 240-241)
Removing insurance barriers to meaningful evidence-based treatment by fully enforcing the Mental Health Parity and Addiction Equity Act and by bringing “parity” to government-sponsored health plans:
- “Considering that insurance coverage parity is the law of the land and the administration and every major public health organization supports medication-assisted treatment, it is shocking that Medicare does not cover [Opioid Treatment Programs]. The oversight is so irrational and the solution so undeniable that this disparity will be a litmus test on the seriousness of any effort to combat this epidemic.” (Page 245)
- “President Trump should ensure the Department of Labor has real authority and resources to enforce this law [Mental Health Parity and Addiction Equity Act co-sponsored by AOR Advisor Patrick Kennedy], audit violators, and impose fines.” (Page 246)
Increasing America’s clinical capacity to treatment people living with addiction:
- “Fundamentally, this cap [on the number of patients a provider can treat with buprenorphine] makes no sense. No other medications have such restrictions—including the pain management opioid prescriptions that have helped cause this problem.” (Page 241)
Decriminalizing addiction by promoting evidence-based treatment in the criminal justice system:
- “To relieve prison populations and keep people with addictions or mental illness out of jail, we should invest more in treatment courts and ensure they are using evidence-based treatments. These courts are already profoundly successful in some states for combating addiction and keeping jail populations low.” (Pages 246-247)
Advocates for Opioid Recovery was founded by former House Speaker Newt Gingrich, Former Congressman Patrick J. Kennedy, and civil rights activist Van Jones. “We are proud to stand behind Speaker Gingrich’s efforts to raise public awareness using the platform his book provides,” said Anne Woodbury, AOR Executive Director. “We echo his call to find innovative, lasting solutions that transcend politics and partisanship.”
About Advocates for Opioid Recovery
Advocates for Opioid Recovery is a nonprofit organization dedicated to advancing a science-based, evidence-based treatment system that can reduce death and suffering from opioid addiction, and produce more long-term opioid addiction survivors who are positively engaged in their families and communities. For more information, visit https://www.opioidrecovery.org. Follow us on Twitter @AORecovery.
About Newt Gingrich
Newt Gingrich was the Speaker of the United States House of Representatives from 1995 to 1999. Gingrich was first elected to Congress in 1978 where he served Georgia’s 6th congressional district for 20 years. Today, he is a Fox News contributor and the author of 36 books, including 15 fiction and nonfiction New York Times best sellers. He has also been an advisor to President Donald Trump both during the 2016 campaign and the presidency. Gingrich received his bachelor’s degree from Emory University and his master’s and doctorate in Modern European History from Tulane University.
June 4, 2018