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Opioid crisis gaining attention

August 31, 2015
by Gary A. Enos, Editor
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Several national and local events in August cast the opioid abuse crisis in a larger context. Observers would like to see more policies directed toward prevention, accessible treatment options and coordination of services overall.

Aug. 2: A new study published in JAMA Internal Medicine found that Florida's prescription drug monitoring program laws led to a 1.4% aggregate decline in opioid prescriptions between July 2010 and September 2012.

Aug. 7: Thirteen U.S. senators wrote a letter to Secretary of Health and Human Services Sylvia M. Burwell requesting that she use her authority to lift the cap on the number of patients with opioid use disorder that a physician prescribing buprenorphine can treat at one time.

Aug. 7: Two dozen addiction treatment centers announced thay are accepting patients in communities where police are seeking to refer those with addiction to treatment instead of arresting them.

Aug. 11: Medical leaders discuss ways in which community pharmacies can become effective access points for the opioid overdose reversal drug naloxone.

Aug. 25: A group that included a number of addiction specialists and psychiatrists met with Office of National Drug Control Policy (ONDCP) director Michael Botticelli to discuss possible federal initiatives that could help states deal with the growing opioid crisis.

Aug. 26: Maine Gov. Paul LePage held a meeting with local law enforcement representatives to discuss supply-side solutions to the opioid crisis. Mercy Hospital's 250-bed recovery center in the state recently shuttered, and Spectrum Health Systems also is closing its only treatment site in Maine, a Sanford outpatient center that offered methadone.


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