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ACP Encouraged By Bipartisan Opioid Legislation, Calls for Continued Action in Addressing Epidemic

Statement attributable to:
Ana María López, MD, MPH, FACP
President, American College of Physicians

Washington, DC (October 24, 2018) — The American College of Physicians is encouraged by the bipartisan opioid legislation that has been approved by the U.S. Senate and House of Representatives and signed by President Trump, but recognizes that more needs to be done to tackle the opioid crisis.  As a first step, Congress needs to approve adequate funding to implement the policies in the new law that will help patients who face addiction get the treatment they need.

ACP is supportive of several provisions in the law that will help to end and prevent opioid abuse and addiction, including increased access to treatment programs for opioid addiction and substance use disorders, investment in research and development efforts for technologies and therapies that will prevent addiction, and ensuring that first responders are supplied with naloxone, a lifesaving medication used to reverse overdoses.

Physicians are on the frontlines of the opioid crisis, and we have seen first-hand how addiction and substance use disorders have impacted families and communities. ACP’s 2017 policy paper, Health and Public Policy to Facilitate Effective Prevention and Treatment of Substance Use Disorders Involving Illicit and Prescription Drugs, published in the Annals of Internal Medicine, made recommendations to combat the opioid crisis, including using public health interventions to emphasize prevention and treatment of substance use disorders, incorporating training in the treatment of substance use disorders in every level of medical education, and expanding the workforce of professionals qualified to treat substance use disorders.  

As a physician, I have seen all too frequently patients who are suffering from substance use disorders. This legislation is a step in the right direction to ensure that patients can work towards recovery without sacrificing the quality and affordability of care. If Congress and the administration truly want to address the opioid crisis and help Americans and their families, Congress must follow through on their words and pass the funding needed to support this legislation.

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About the American College of Physicians

The American College of Physicians is the largest medical specialty organization in the United States with members in more than 145 countries worldwide. ACP membership includes 154,000 internal medicine physicians (internists), related subspecialists, and medical students. Internal medicine physicians are specialists who apply scientific knowledge and clinical expertise to the diagnosis, treatment, and compassionate care of adults across the spectrum from health to complex illness. Follow ACP on TwitterFacebook, and Instagram.

Contact: Julie Hirschhorn, (202) 261-4523, jhirschhorn@acponline.org