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More than 500 State and Local Leaders Participate in Webinar on Medication Assisted Treatment

The webinar showcased two approaches in which MAT is provided and care for individuals with substance use disorders is integrated with regular medical care.

Last week, 505 state and local criminal justice, health policy, and other leaders participated in a webinar hosted by the White House Office of National Drug Control Policy entitled: Innovative Practices in Medication Assisted Treatment and Primary Care Coordination. The webinar showcased two approaches to care in which Medication Assisted Treatment is provided and care for individuals with substance use disorders is integrated with regular medical care. 

“Studies have shown that treatment plus medication can help save lives by preventing overdose deaths, but unfortunately, for too many people, it is out of reach,” said Michael Botticelli, Director of National Drug Control Policy. “This Administration has advanced the use of the FDA-approved medications, which when combined with other supports, has been shown to be the best course of treatment for opioid use disorders.” 

During the webinar, Kenneth Stoller, Director of the Johns Hopkins Broadway Center for Addiction, presented his work with the Johns Hopkins Collaborative Opioid Prescribing program, which provides psychosocial support and care for patients, and uses Opioid Treatment Programs as hubs of expertise to encourage Office Based Opioid Treatment providers to prescribe buprenorphine.

Susan Storti, Administrative Coordinator for the Rhode Island Opioid Treatment Program Home Health Initiative, showcased a statewide, collaborative health home model. This model enhances the coordination of physical care and treatment for opioid use disorders in a patient-centered medical home approach through direct provision of health services, or through contractual or collaborative arrangements with community service providers. 

Medicines with buprenorphine can be given in a doctor’s office once the doctor has received an eight-hour training. More widespread use of this drug has the potential to improve integration of substance use disorder treatment with regular medical care. However, of the more than 1.1 million physicians who can write controlled substance prescriptions, only about 25,000 have received a waiver to prescribe office-based buprenorphine. And while there are many narcotic treatment programs in the country, not enough physicians elect to use medication-assisted treatment for their patients.

To expand the use of medication-assisted treatment, ONDCP and federal partners have been identifying barriers to medication-assisted treatment and ways to increase use of medication for opioid use disorders. The President’s FY 2016 budget proposes $133 million of new investments aimed at combating the opioid epidemic, including expanding and enhancing medication-assisted treatment programs.

The White House Office of National Drug Control Policy seeks to foster healthy individuals and safe communities by effectively reducing drug use and its consequences. The National Drug Control Strategy builds on the Administration’s record of drug policy reform by outlining a series of actions that will continue to expand health interventions and “smart on crime” alternatives. The Strategy includes a series of actions currently underway to reduce the impact of the opioid epidemic in the United States.