Research shows that addiction is a chronic disease similar to diabetes and hypertension, with long-term treatment success equal to or better than those diseases.
"No state legislature would put a time limit on medications for any other chronic disease, such as diabetes or hypertension," said ASAM President Stuart Gitlow, MD. "Yet there is a patchwork of such policies across the country on addiction medications."
Medications for Addiction Treatment
Buprenorphine/naloxone, buprenorphine, methadone and extended-release injectable naltrexone are FDA-approved medications shown to be highly effective in the treatment of opioid addiction, a chronic, life-threatening disease that affects millions of Americans. As with most chronic diseases, opioid addiction often requires long-term medication maintenance to achieve optimal outcomes. Many patients who receive medication-assisted opioid addiction treatment do recover and lead healthy and productive lives.
ASAM Patient Advocacy Task Force
ASAM believes that it is in the best interest of our physician members, their patients and other key stakeholders to educate state, federal and private sector policy-makers and the public about life-saving and cost-effective pharmacotherapies for the treatment of opioid addiction. The ASAM Board of Directors appointed the Patient Advocacy Task Force to gather data and spearhead an educational effort to inform policy making to assure effective patient access to medications for treatment of opioid addiction.
- Advocate for patient access to evidence-based, cost-effective medication treatment for opioid dependence.
- The Task Force is conducting surveys of Medicaid programs in all 50 states and 30 private insurers to document payer policies for opioid addiction medications and to identify model plans which assure the best patient access to care.
- The Task Force has commissioned two research analyses of the clinical and economic benefits of these medications. The reports will summarize the evidence supporting their effectiveness at improving patient outcomes and saving payers money.
- The Task Force will host a Stakeholder Summit on Thursday, June 20, 2013, at the National Press Club in Washington, DC, to release the survey and research analysis results and solicit feedback from stakeholders.
Addiction Medication in the News
"Heroin use, deaths spike in New Hampshire," New Hampshire Union Leader, May 19, 2013. NIH Looks to Drug Reformulation, Social Media to Combat Opioid Abuse and Misuse," RegulatoryFocus, May 16, 2013.
State Policy Tracking Tool
Stay up to date on state policies related to opioid addiction treatment with the Association of State and Territorial Health Officials (ASTHO) State Legistlative Tracking Tool.
ASAM is grateful for the support of its federal partners:
The Office of the Assistant Secretary for Health (OASH), for supporting the review of clinical efficacy of addiction medications and how payer policies influence the use of those medications;
The Center for Substance Abuse Treatment (CSAT/SAMHSA), for supporting the fact-finding efforts to document state Medicaid and private payer policies regarding access to addiction treatment pharmacotherapies;
The National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA), for its support of the literature review of the clinical effectiveness of addiction treatment pharmacotherapies;
The Office of National Drug Control Policy (ONDCP), for supporting the assessment both of the availability of addiction medications nationwide and the cost and clinical effectiveness of these therapies.
ASAM is also grateful for the generous support of several private sponsors, including:
Behavioral Health Group (BHG)
Reckitt Benckiser Pharmaceuticals Inc.
Titan Pharmaceuticals, Inc.