This nation's opioid epidemic continues to claim tens of thousands of lives each year from overdose deaths. While the primary driver of opioid use disorder has long been prescription drug abuse, there has been some recent progress on this front.
A new report released by the American Medical Association (AMA) reveals that physicians are making strides in the opioid fight. Those who are struggling with opioid addiction also have substance abuse treatment options.
The Impact of This Nation's Opioid Epidemic
Americans are continuing to lose the battle in this nation's war against opioid addiction. The CDC's report on opioid deaths released in December reveals that there were 64,000 deaths related to opioid overdose in 2016, the highest number recorded in a single year.
Between July 2016 and September 2017, a separate report released by the agency in March shows that emergency department visits for opioid overdoses rose 30 percent across the U.S. and 70 percent in the Midwest. In October, President Trump declared the crisis to be a public health emergency and the White House launched an anti-opioid ad campaign in June aimed at young people.
AMA Report Details National Physician Leadership Against Opioid Addiction
One of the primary reasons that this nation is in the midst of an opioid epidemic is the overprescribing of prescription painkillers. A new report just released by the AMA shows that physicians are making progress in cutting the number of prescriptions written for these dangerous and addictive drugs.
The AMA's report was released on May 31, and it reveals that the volume of opioid prescriptions has dropped 22 percent between 2013 and 2017. Specifically, there were 55 million fewer prescriptions written over that period, and the number of opioid prescriptions written for patients has fallen for five years in a row.
The report also concluded that there was a 121 percent increase in physicians accessing electronic prescription tracking databases between 2016 and 2017. These monitoring programs help healthcare providers identify and address opioid abuse among patients.
Physicians are also spending more time on education related to opioid addiction. In just 2017, close to 550,000 doctors and other medical professionals participated in medical education courses and training related to substance use disorders and pain management. The AMA is also working to provide greater access to specific substance abuse treatment services for opioid addiction.
The Availability of Substance Abuse Treatment for Opioid Addiction
One proven way to treat opioid use disorder is with medication-assisted treatment (MAT). The AMA report also reveals that there has been a 42 percent increase over the past year in doctors who are certified to prescribe buprenorphine as a treatment for opioid addiction. As of May, 50,000 physicians in the U.S. now have this certification.
In addition to buprenorphine, physicians more than doubled the rate of naloxone prescriptions in 2017. The AMA also calls for lowering any existing barriers to substance abuse treatment and enforcing regulations to ensure that health insurers provide adequate coverage for appropriate care.
If you or any of your loved ones are struggling with opioid addiction, The Recovery Village can help with its comprehensive and customized substance abuse treatment programs. We offer the most appropriate therapies and services to fit your needs and situation. Contact us now to speak with someone about your admissions options and begin your recovery journey.