The opioid crisis needs a long-term national strategy

The opioid crisis needs a long-term national strategy

Publication date: Aug 09, 2019

At the Bipartisan Policy Center (BPC), we recently tracked all 57 federal funding sources directed at the epidemic and found that they fall far short of the amount necessary to reverse the rate of overdose deaths, address the consequences of the epidemic, permanently reverse the rate of overdose deaths and build a comprehensive addiction treatment and recovery system.

There are an estimated 2 million people with opioid use disorder, but the national addiction crisis is about more than just opioids.

However, developing a comprehensive evidence-based system of care for people with substance use disorder will take ongoing funding over a sustained period.

The federal government’s funding source for the country’s prevention and much of the nation’s treatment system, the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Administration’s (SAMHSA) block grant, has suffered a 24 percent decrease in real funding due to a decade of level-funding.

Raising the tax on alcohol would generate enough money to fund an addiction treatment system and improve outcomes for people with all forms of addiction, including alcohol use disorder, which is linked to 88,000 deaths in the US each year.

However, considerable barriers to evidence-based treatments such as medications for opioid use disorder persist in Medicaid programs.

These obstacles include: the need to obtain prior authorizations before prescribing medications for opioid use disorder; quantity or dosing limits; lifetime treatment limits; and step therapy (sometimes referred to as “fail first” policies).

A 2018 Report to Congress published by MACPAC (Medicaid and CHIP Payment Access Commission), found that 40 percent of counties did not have an outpatient substance use disorder treatment program.

The ACA requires that treatment for substance use disorders be covered as an essential benefit, and private insurance companies must comply with The Mental Health Parity and Addiction Equity Act (The Parity Act).

A recent report from the Center on Addiction identified significant noncompliance with both The Parity Act and essential benefit requirements in state ACA plans.

Concepts Keywords
88000 Addiction
Addiction Medicaid
Alcohol Opioid use disorder
Block Grant Euphoriants
CARE Substance dependence
Comprehensive Plan Morphine
Congress RTT
Drug Overdose Psychoactive drugs
Drug Policy Opioids
Elijah Cummings Addiction greatest services
Elizabeth Warren Insurance public payers
Epidemic Alcohol disorder
Georgetown Law Center Treatment substance disorders
Highway Chronic condition
Insurance Treatment recovery services
Jobs Act
Money Fund
Obama Administration
Opioid Addiction
Opioid Epidemic
Overdose Deaths
Science Magazine
Senate Budget Committee
Senate House
White House


Type Source Name
disease MESH multi
disease MESH substance use disorder
disease DOID Substance Abuse
drug DRUGBANK Ethanol
disease MESH alcohol use disorder
disease DOID alcohol use disorder
drug DRUGBANK Trihexyphenidyl
disease MESH Parity
drug DRUGBANK Nonoxynol-9
disease MESH development
drug DRUGBANK Etoperidone


Original Article

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