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Federal opioid strategy backed by increased funding

March 26, 2015
by Julie Miller, Editor in Chief
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President Obama's 2016 fiscal-year budget includes investments to reduce opioid misuse and abuse, including $133 million in new funding to address the issue, according to an announcement from Health and Human Services Secretary Sylvia M. Burwell.

An initiative announced today focuses on three priority areas.

1. Providing training and educational resources, including updated prescriber guidelines, to address the overprescribing of opioids.

  • Teaching medical professionals how and when to prescribe opioids by working with lawmakers on bipartisan legislation requiring specific training for safe opioid prescribing and establishing new opioid prescribing guidelines for chronic pain.
  • Supporting data sharing for safe prescribing by facilitating prescription drug monitoring programs (PDMP) and health information technology integration and further adoption of electronic prescribing practices.
  • Increasing investments in state-level prevention interventions, including PDMPs, to track opioid prescribing and support appropriate pain management.

2. Increasing use and distribution of naloxone.

  • Supporting the development, review, and approval of new naloxone products and delivery options.
  • Promoting state use of Substance Abuse Block Grant funds to purchase naloxone.
  • Implementing the Prescription Drug Overdose grant program for states to purchase naloxone and train first responders on its use.

3. Expanding the use of Medication-Assisted Treatment for substance use disorders.

  • Launching a grant program in FY 2015 to improve access to MAT services through education, training, and purchase of MAT medications for treatment of prescription opioid and heroin addiction. In FY 2015, SAMHSA will provide $12 million through a demonstration grant program to expand treatment services for opioid dependence. The FY 2016 budget proposed an additional $13 million expansion of this program to increase the number of states that would receive targeted funding. HHS is also exploring policy changes that would increase access to providers certified to deliver MAT.
  • Exploring bipartisan policy changes to increase use of buprenorphine and develop the training to assist prescribing.

 “We need all stakeholders to come together to fight the opioid epidemic,” said Burwell in a statement.

Through bipartisan work across the federal government and with Capitol Hill, as well as strategic partnerships with states and private industry, she says she will work to address the current crisis and reduce overdoses and deaths.

On March 6, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention launched the Prescription Drug Overdose Prevention for States program to provide state health departments with resources to enhance their monitoring programs. Initially funding will support approximately 16 states—the application period is currently open. In time, the program investment is targeted to  reach all 50 states and Washington, D.C.

The Food and Drug Administration also will continue to use its expedited review authorities to encourage the development of non-opioid pain medications intended to treat chronic pain and supports the wider use of naloxone and abuse-deterrent opioid products. 

For more information on the initiative, see here.

 

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