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Internists Encouraged By Focus on Treatment in White House Plan to Address Opioid Crisis

Statement attributable to:
Jack Ende, MD, MACP
President, American College of Physicians

Washington, DC (March 19, 2018) — The American College of Physicians is encouraged by the emphasis on treatment and prevention in the White House’s plan to address the opioid epidemic that was released today. ACP supports policies that help expand treatment and therapy options for individuals and communities facing opioid addiction and other substance use disorders.

ACP is supportive of several provisions in the White House’s new initiative to end opioid abuse and addiction, including expanding access to proven treatments for opioid and other drug addictions, investing in research and development efforts for technologies and therapies designed to prevent addiction, and ensuring that first responders are supplied with naloxone, a lifesaving medication used to reverse overdoses. Additionally, ACP supports upending laws that prohibit Medicaid from reimbursing residential treatment at certain facilities with more than 16 beds, while continuing approving state Medicaid demonstration projects that waive these barriers to inpatient treatment.

Too often, physicians witness first-hand the consequences of opioid addiction and substance use disorders. ACP strongly believes that efforts must be made to make substance use disorder treatments more accessible to those in underserved and at risk communities by improving prescription drug monitoring programs and supporting insurance coverage of opioid use disorder treatment. We hope that the Trump administration’s plan will help physicians achieve this goal.

ACP also urges the administration and public health officials to consider the recommendations made in our policy paper, Health and Public Policy to Facilitate Effective Prevention and Treatment of Substance Use Disorders Involving Illicit and Prescription Drugs, published last year in Annals of Internal Medicine. This includes emphasizing prevention and treatment of substance use disorders through public health interventions, 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 physicians, we have an ethical obligation to help patients suffering from substance use disorders work towards recovery. ACP is ready to work in tandem with the administration and public health agencies to combat the opioid crisis and help ensure our patients have access to affordable, quality treatment options.

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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 152,000 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 Twitter and Facebook.

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