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FDA Commissioner Calls For Expanded Treatment In Opiate Epidemic


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On Wednesday, October 25, the commissioner of the Food and Drug Administration, Dr. Scott Gottlieb, announced that expanded treatment is the biggest need for those suffering from opioid addiction. The announcement was said to a House committee a day prior to President Donald Trump's address regarding the opioid crisis.

"Unfortunately, far too few people who are addicted to opioids are offered an adequate chance for treatment that uses medications," said Gottlieb. Gottlieb also said he encourages doctors to offer their patients remedies such as methadone therapy.

Methadone treatments have been proven to be both safe and effective for treating opiate addiction. Methadone rehab centers have a success rate of 60% to 90% in comparison to abstinence-only programs, which only have a success rate of 5% to 10%.

Unfortunately, because of the stigma associated with opioid addiction and heroin addiction treatment, not as many people have access to methadone treatments. To combat this stigma, the FDA plans to emphasize the value of methadone treatment and medication-based assistance.

"[This is] part of our existing public health mandate to promote the appropriate use of medicine," Gottlieb said.

The Commission on Combating Drug Addiction and the Opioid Crisis had similar words in their preliminary report. According to the Akron Beacon Journal, the Commission said one of the best things the Trump administration could do was increase treatment capacity. The preliminary report cites that medication-based treatment for opiate detox is only offered by 10% of drug treatment facilities outside of methadone rehab centers.

New Jersey Governor Chris Christie, the chairperson of the Commission, said it may be easier for states to treat citizens suffering from opioid addiction by making federal Medicaid funds available for treatment. Medicare, the Indian Health Service, and the Department of Veterans Affairs were also urged by the Commission to be used to expand access to methadone centers.

Patient limitations are another large obstacle standing in the way of treatment. According to the Drug Policy Alliance, patients seeking medicine-based treatment for heroin detox and opioid addiction must visit a specific local facility for their treatment rather than receiving it directly in their doctor's offices. The number of patients allowed to be seen by physicians for medicine-based treatment is another barrier.

These movements against the opioid epidemic are slow-going. However, methadone rehab centers are available across the U.S. to help those suffering from substance abuse. For more information regarding a methadone treatment program that works for you or your loved one, contact Sundance Methadone Treatment Center today for a consultation.

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