Take The Pledge
I will do my part to follow the science and encourage the use of medication to effectively treat opioid addiction. Together we will rewrite the prescription and break down barriers to recovery medication.
What you can do
Some people have been resistant to using a medication to treat a medication-based addiction, and believe that total abstinence is the only legitimate path forward. The scientific evidence does not support this belief, and has clearly demonstrated that recovery medication is essential for most patients.1 Additionally, a recent trial found that 96% of patients treated with Probuphine avoided drug use for at least 4 months. If you know someone affected by opioid addiction, talk to them about the effectiveness of treatment with medicine and share this provider locator tool. Give particular focus to vulnerable populations like veterans, who are twice as likely to die from a drug overdose.
The federal government must act immediately to eliminate arbitrary patient treatment caps for physicians, physician assistants and nurse practitioners who are authorized to treat opioid addiction with medication. It would be inexcusable to deny those living with diseases like diabetes, cancer or heart disease medication that’s been scientifically proven to successfully treat their illness. And it’s equally inexcusable to place caps on the number of patients medical providers can treat with medication for the disease of opioid addiction. Policymakers should pass legislation that enables physicians, physician assistants and nurse practitioners to prescribe recovery medications for all patients who need it.
Currently, less than 3 percent of America’s physicians can prescribe recovery medications, and most of them have long waiting lists. Physicians should seek training to become authorized to treat opioid addiction with recovery medications like buprenorphine, and self-advocate for the removal of limitations on the number of patients they are permitted to treat.
Insurance Decision Makers
Maintenance treatment with medication for opioid addiction has been shown to prevent relapse and death but is currently strongly discouraged by lifetime medication limits under many insurance policies. It should not be acceptable to strongly discourage an effective treatment that can save lives. Insurance companies should eliminate ‘fail first’ programs and lifetime medication limits for opioid recovery medication.
Criminal Justice Professionals
Presently only 11% of inmates with substance use disorders receive any treatment during their incarceration despite the high potential of treatment with medicine to reduce both recidivism and criminal justice costs. Both the White House Office of National Drug Control Policy and the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration have encouraged drug court personnel to increase their knowledge of the effectiveness of treatment with medication and increase its use in drug courts. All criminal justice professionals should support and encourage the use of buprenorphine as part of participation in a drug court program for those with opioid addiction.