White House Addresses Heroin Epidemic and Opioid Abuse

On Tuesday, President Obama announced additional funding to fight the opioid abuse and heroin epidemic at the National Rx Drug Abuse and Heroin Summit in Atlanta Georgia. He asked for the public and private sectors actions to escalate in the fight against the opioid abuse and heroin epidemic in America, which is claiming lives every day.  The Presidents is taking further steps to expand access to treatment and medicated assisted treatment. This plan includes other efforts to expand addiction treatment and increase coverage for mental health and substance abuse services. This is in addition to the $1.1 billion he proposed last month.

Overdose deaths from opioids — drugs that include heroin as well as prescription drugs, continue to be the leading cause of unintentional death for Americans, rising 14% from 2013 to 2014.

 Recently federal agencies have been aggressive in adding new strategies to help fight the opioid abuse and heroin epidemic. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) issued new guidelines for prescribing opioids, stating that prescribing opioids was not their first option, and should try physical therapy first. The Food and Drug Administration issued new requirements that immediate-release, or fast-acting, opioids must carry “black box” warning labels.

The White Released an article about President Obama’s Administrations plan action including: Here is the Fact Sheet

Expanding Access to Treatment

Currently, physicians are limited by law to prescribing buprenorphine to just 100 patients per doctor. The White House is increasing that cap to 200 patients per doctor.

Establishing a Mental Health and Substance Use Disorder Parity Task Force

Advanced access to mental health and substance use disorder treatment; promote compliance with best practices for mental health and substance use disorder parity implementation; and develop additional agency guidance as needed

 Implementing Mental Health and Substance Use Disorder Parity in Medicaid

HHS is finalizing a rule to strengthen access to mental health and substance use services for people enrolled in Medicaid and Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) plans by requiring that these benefits be offered at parity, meaning that they be comparable to medical and surgical benefits

Preventing Opioid Overdose Deaths

SAMHSA is releasing a new $11 million funding opportunity to States to purchase and distribute the opioid overdose reversal drug, naloxone

Expanding Public Health-Public Safety Partnerships to Combat the Spread of Heroin

The Office of National Drug Control Policy is expanding its heroin initiative among regional High Intensity Drug Trafficking Areas (HIDTAs) by adding Ohio and Michigan to the effort

Investing in Community Policing to Address Heroin

The Department of Justice’s COPS program is announcing a $7 million funding opportunity called the COPS Anti-Heroin Task Force Program to advance public safety and to investigate the distribution of heroin, unlawful distribution of prescription opioids and unlawful heroin and prescription opioid traffickers.