In an effort to address the ongoing opioid epidemic, the White House has released the 2022 National Drug Control Strategy.
The Strategy focuses on 2 main drivers of the opioid epidemic: drug trafficking and untreated addiction. Tactics for addressing drug trafficking include obstructing the financial activities of transnational criminal organizations that manufacture illicit drugs, reducing the supply of these drugs through domestic collaboration and international coordination, and reducing the supply of illicit drugs smuggled across US borders.
With regard to addiction, the proposal directs federal agencies to integrate harm reduction interventions, such as expanded access to naloxone, drug test strips, and syringe services programs, into the US care system. It also outlines a plan for delivering treatment to those at the highest risk of overdosing by meeting people where they are, thereby increasing access to evidence-based treatments. Additional objectives include treatment efforts focusing on increasing treatment admissions for populations most at risk of overdose death, as well as prevention efforts, particularly targeting the adolescent population.
The Strategy also calls for removing outdated requirements that prevent widespread use of buprenorphine products for opioid use disorder treatment by licensed medical providers. Payment reform is also highlighted “so that those treating groups most at risk receive funding, and so providers can make a business case for treating more of these patients and for accepting insurance.”
Responding to the Strategy, the American College of Physicians (ACP) released a statement approving the plan, specifically noting the importance of promoting harm reduction strategies, developing addiction curriculum for medical schools, and reforming criminal justice policies.
“[Substance use disorder] poses a heavy societal burden, endangering individual and family health and well-being, tearing through communities and sapping resources from the health care system, more needs to be done to improve access to care,” said George M. Abraham, MD, MPH, MACP, FIDSA, president, ACP. “We look forward to working with the administration to implement policies to help better treat [substance use disorder].”
- White House Releases 2022 National Drug Control Strategy that outlines comprehensive path forward to address addiction and the overdose epidemic. News release. April 21, 2022. https://www.whitehouse.gov/briefing-room/statements-releases/2022/04/21/fact-sheet-white-house-releases-2022-national-drug-control-strategy-that-outlines-comprehensive-path-forward-to-address-addiction-and-the-overdose-epidemic/
- Internal medicine physicians say White House strategy would improve treatment for substance use disorders. News release. April 22, 2022. https://www.acponline.org/acp-newsroom/internal-medicine-physicians-say-white-house-strategy-would-improve-treatment-for-substance-use
This article originally appeared on MPR