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ASAM Vice President Testifies at Congressional Oversight Hearing on Federal Response to Addiction and Overdose Crisis

by | Jun 19, 2019

Yngvild Olsen, MD, MPH urged lawmakers to expand access to evidence-based addiction treatment and invest more resources to address the addiction and overdose crisis during today’s House Committee on Oversight and Reform Hearing  

Read Testimony

Download Release

Rockville, MD – Leaders in the addiction medicine community urged Congress to devote targeted resources to address the addiction and overdose crisis during today’s US House Committee on Oversight and Reform Hearing, “Medical Experts: Inadequate Federal Approach to Opioid Treatment and the Need to Expand Care.”

Yngvild Olsen, MD, MPH, vice president of the American Society of Addiction Medicine (ASAM) and Medical Director for the Institutes for Behavior Resources Inc/REACH Health Services in Baltimore, Maryland, provided expert testimony on the need to expand evidence-based addiction treatment, including medications for addiction treatment, which has been shown to reduce crime, increase employment and lower the transmission of infectious disease. 

Access to such treatment has been tragically lacking. While increased federal funding has been a welcome and important step, it is nonetheless insufficient in addressing an opioid-related overdose crisis that takes the lives of roughly 130 Americans each day. Emphasizing this reality, Dr. Olsen urged Congress to invest the resources necessary to develop a robust addiction treatment infrastructure that will save lives. Specifically, Dr. Olsen highlighted the recently introduced Comprehensive Addiction Resources Emergency (CARE) Act, which would authorize $100 billion dollars over the next 10 years to help communities provide critically needed and evidence-based addiction prevention, treatment, engagement, and recovery services. The CARE Act is modeled after the Ryan White Care Act, which is credited with helping the country make significant strides against the HIV/AIDS epidemic.

“Instead of only focusing on some people with addiction – based on address or class or race or ethnicity – we should embrace the following: Everyone with addiction deserves the opportunity for treatment and recovery,” Dr. Olsen testified. “It’s time for the United States to take a compassionate, humane, and public health approach to this crisis.” 

According to the latest estimates, nearly 21 million Americans needed treatment for substance use disorder (SUD) in 2017, but only 4 million received any form of treatment or ancillary services. The lack of adequate addiction treatment infrastructure contributed to a record 70,237 drug overdose in deaths 2017, two-thirds of which have been linked to opioids.  

A severe workforce shortage compounds the issue of access for those seeking addiction treatment. Some estimates suggest there are about 4,400 actively practicing certified addiction specialist physicians (addiction medicine and addiction psychiatry) in the US. This falls well below the 6,000 addiction specialists needed based on a 2009 estimate, and even that number is now insufficient given the current crisis. To address the workforce shortage, the CARE Act allocates billions of dollars to support the training of health professionals in the diagnosis, treatment, and prevention of SUD. This includes funding to train medical school faculty to teach students to provide for the needs of individuals with SUD or those at risk of developing a SUD.

To view a video of the hearing and read a copy of Dr. Olsen’s testimony, CLICK HERE.

###

 

About ASAM

The American Society of Addiction Medicine (ASAM), founded in 1954, is a professional medical society representing over 6,000 physicians, clinicians and associated professionals in the field of addiction medicine. ASAM is dedicated to increasing access and improving the quality of addiction treatment, educating physicians and the public, supporting research and prevention, and promoting the appropriate role of physicians in the care of patients with addiction. For more information, visit www.ASAM.org.

About Dr. Olsen

Yngvild Olsen, MD, MPH, is the Medical Director for the Institutes for Behavior Resources Inc/REACH Health Services, a comprehensive outpatient addiction treatment center in Baltimore City. She also provides part-time medical consultation to the local behavioral health authority for Baltimore City and the Maryland Behavioral Health Administration. After medical training at Harvard Medical School, and internal medicine residency with a year as Primary Care Chief Resident at the Boston Medical Center, she received a Master’s in Public Health from the Johns Hopkins University Bloomberg School of Public Health as part of a fellowship in General Internal Medicine at the Johns Hopkins School of Medicine.  She has previously served as the Vice President of Clinical Affairs for the Baltimore Substance Abuse Systems, as the Deputy Health Officer for the Harford County Health Department, and as the Medical Director for the Johns Hopkins Hospital’s outpatient substance use treatment services. Dr. Olsen also serves as Vice President for the American Society of Addiction Medicine and is on the board of the National Council on Alcoholism and Drug Dependence of Maryland. She is co-author of the book, “The Opioid Epidemic: What Everyone Needs to Know.”

Recent News

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ASAM Vice President Testifies at Congressional Oversight Hearing on Federal Response to Addiction and Overdose Crisis

by | Jun 19, 2019

Yngvild Olsen, MD, MPH urged lawmakers to expand access to evidence-based addiction treatment and invest more resources to address the addiction and overdose crisis during today’s House Committee on Oversight and Reform Hearing  

Read Testimony

Download Release

Rockville, MD – Leaders in the addiction medicine community urged Congress to devote targeted resources to address the addiction and overdose crisis during today’s US House Committee on Oversight and Reform Hearing, “Medical Experts: Inadequate Federal Approach to Opioid Treatment and the Need to Expand Care.”

Yngvild Olsen, MD, MPH, vice president of the American Society of Addiction Medicine (ASAM) and Medical Director for the Institutes for Behavior Resources Inc/REACH Health Services in Baltimore, Maryland, provided expert testimony on the need to expand evidence-based addiction treatment, including medications for addiction treatment, which has been shown to reduce crime, increase employment and lower the transmission of infectious disease. 

Access to such treatment has been tragically lacking. While increased federal funding has been a welcome and important step, it is nonetheless insufficient in addressing an opioid-related overdose crisis that takes the lives of roughly 130 Americans each day. Emphasizing this reality, Dr. Olsen urged Congress to invest the resources necessary to develop a robust addiction treatment infrastructure that will save lives. Specifically, Dr. Olsen highlighted the recently introduced Comprehensive Addiction Resources Emergency (CARE) Act, which would authorize $100 billion dollars over the next 10 years to help communities provide critically needed and evidence-based addiction prevention, treatment, engagement, and recovery services. The CARE Act is modeled after the Ryan White Care Act, which is credited with helping the country make significant strides against the HIV/AIDS epidemic.

“Instead of only focusing on some people with addiction – based on address or class or race or ethnicity – we should embrace the following: Everyone with addiction deserves the opportunity for treatment and recovery,” Dr. Olsen testified. “It’s time for the United States to take a compassionate, humane, and public health approach to this crisis.” 

According to the latest estimates, nearly 21 million Americans needed treatment for substance use disorder (SUD) in 2017, but only 4 million received any form of treatment or ancillary services. The lack of adequate addiction treatment infrastructure contributed to a record 70,237 drug overdose in deaths 2017, two-thirds of which have been linked to opioids.  

A severe workforce shortage compounds the issue of access for those seeking addiction treatment. Some estimates suggest there are about 4,400 actively practicing certified addiction specialist physicians (addiction medicine and addiction psychiatry) in the US. This falls well below the 6,000 addiction specialists needed based on a 2009 estimate, and even that number is now insufficient given the current crisis. To address the workforce shortage, the CARE Act allocates billions of dollars to support the training of health professionals in the diagnosis, treatment, and prevention of SUD. This includes funding to train medical school faculty to teach students to provide for the needs of individuals with SUD or those at risk of developing a SUD.

To view a video of the hearing and read a copy of Dr. Olsen’s testimony, CLICK HERE.

###

 

About ASAM

The American Society of Addiction Medicine (ASAM), founded in 1954, is a professional medical society representing over 6,000 physicians, clinicians and associated professionals in the field of addiction medicine. ASAM is dedicated to increasing access and improving the quality of addiction treatment, educating physicians and the public, supporting research and prevention, and promoting the appropriate role of physicians in the care of patients with addiction. For more information, visit www.ASAM.org.

About Dr. Olsen

Yngvild Olsen, MD, MPH, is the Medical Director for the Institutes for Behavior Resources Inc/REACH Health Services, a comprehensive outpatient addiction treatment center in Baltimore City. She also provides part-time medical consultation to the local behavioral health authority for Baltimore City and the Maryland Behavioral Health Administration. After medical training at Harvard Medical School, and internal medicine residency with a year as Primary Care Chief Resident at the Boston Medical Center, she received a Master’s in Public Health from the Johns Hopkins University Bloomberg School of Public Health as part of a fellowship in General Internal Medicine at the Johns Hopkins School of Medicine.  She has previously served as the Vice President of Clinical Affairs for the Baltimore Substance Abuse Systems, as the Deputy Health Officer for the Harford County Health Department, and as the Medical Director for the Johns Hopkins Hospital’s outpatient substance use treatment services. Dr. Olsen also serves as Vice President for the American Society of Addiction Medicine and is on the board of the National Council on Alcoholism and Drug Dependence of Maryland. She is co-author of the book, “The Opioid Epidemic: What Everyone Needs to Know.”

ASAM Weekly Commentary

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Education

Review Course 2019

The ASAM Review Course in Addiction Medicine is widely recognized as the essential primer for physicians preparing for the ABPM Addiction Medicine Exam and primary care providers who wish to increase their skills in identifying and managing patients whose medical problems are caused or exacerbated by substance use disorders. 

Learn More

MOC Guide

Considering a career in Addiction Medicine or expanding your practice services?

Physicians who have a primary ABMS board may apply to take the ABPM Addiction Medicine exam to become or continue to be an addiction medicine specialist. This specific pathway will expire in 2021. Download the NEW ASAM Information Guide on Certification and MOC.

Click here

Opportunities

ASAM invites applications for the position of Editor-in-Chief of The ASAM Criteria

The ASAM Criteria® is the most widely used set of guidelines for placement, continued stay and transfer/discharge of patients with addiction and co-occurring conditions. The ongoing advances in the addiction medicine field and lessons learned from real-world implementations of The ASAM Criteria call for more regular updates to these guidelines.

The Editor-in-Chief is expected to participate in the development and execution of a process for reviewing data from real-world implementations of the ASAM Criteria, including the ASAM CONTINUUM Software, and working with the editorial team to make empirically-driven revisions of the ASAM Criteria text.

Interested individuals are referred to the position description online at https://www.asam.org/about-us/jobs/editor-in-chief-the-asam-criteria for detailed information about qualifications, duties, and responsibilities.

Applications for this position must be received by close of business on June 6, 2019.

New Resources

JAM Podcast
 
In episode eleven of Addiction Medicine: Beyond the Abstract, we are joined by Dr. Honora Englander, an Associate Professor of Medicine at Oregon Health & Science University and the Director and Principal Investigator of the Improving Addiction Care Team (IMPACT). In her recent article, Dr. Englander and her colleagues discuss using hospitalization as a "reachable moment" for highly vulnerable patients who are not engaged in treatment elsewhere and utilizing the IMPACT team in this process.

 

Journal of Addiction Medicine March/April 2019, Volume 13, Issue 2;

Drug court resources

Drug Court Resources

Tens of thousands of Americans access addiction pharmacotherapies through drug courts every year. New resources are now available. Created in partnership with the NADCP National Association of Drug Court Professionals.