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The White House

White House Director of Drug Policy Joins National and Local Leaders in Announcing Medication-Assisted Treatment Trainings

Trainings will help more New Mexico Physicians treat prescription opioid and heroin use disorders 

Washington, D.C. – Today, Director of National Drug Control Policy Michael Botticelli announced that the New Mexico Medical Society, the New Mexico Hispanic Medical Society and the U.S. Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) are partnering to hold trainings to enable more New Mexico physicians to be able to provide their patients with buprenorphine for prescription opioid and heroin use disorders.

“We know that medication-assisted treatment, along with other support services, is more effective at helping people sustain their recovery from opioid use disorders, but it’s not readily available to those who need it in too many communities nationwide,” said Director Botticelli. “President Obama recently announced several initiatives aimed at expanding access to these life-saving medications in underserved communities, including efforts to make sure that more prescribers are trained to prescribe medications like buprenorphine.”

The first half of the newly announced buprenorphine trainings will be held online, and physicians can complete the trainings at two live sessions with expert trainers on August 12 or August 19.

President Obama has made clear that addressing the opioid overdose epidemic is a priority for his Administration. Last week, at the National Rx Drug Abuse and Heroin Summit, he announced new public and private sector actions to prevent drug use and expand access to treatment. For example, the Department of Health and Human Services proposed a rule that would double the number of patients a doctor can prescribe buprenorphine. This would increase access to medication-assisted treatment and behavioral supports for tens of thousands of people with opioid use disorders. These actions build on his FY 17 budget request, which included an additional $1 billion in new funding for states to expand access to treatment for those who want it.

“Creating greater access to medication-assisted treatment for individuals seeking recovery from opioid use disorders has become imperative in New Mexico,” said Tom Hill, Senior Advisor for Addiction and Recovery for SAMHSA. “Getting more physicians trained and qualified to prescribe medications like buprenorphine will help more New Mexicans achieve recovery and wellness.”

“The AMA strongly encourages physicians to enhance their education about substance use disorders,” said AMA President Steven J. Stack, MD. “This training will not simply allow more patients to receive treatment for a substance use disorder – it will save lives and help patients return to a functional life with their friends and family.”

While the overdose epidemic is a problem for every community across the country, it has affected New Mexico more than many other states. In 2014, the drug poisoning rate in the state was 86% higher than the national average, with more than 27 deaths for every 1,000 people in the state.

“As healers, physicians play an integral role in supporting and promoting public health. As such, NMMS is excited to offer a buprenorphine training to medical providers statewide this summer,” said William L. Ritchie, MD, President-elect of the New Mexico Medical Society. “Teaming with partners at UNM – ECHO program and the Hispanic Medical Association, we hope to have medical professionals who are trained in medication assisted treatment in every corner of the state before the chile harvest. Our physicians are active partners in addressing the overdose and abuse crisis in our state and these educational offerings will provide the basis for individual and community healing.”

“It’s been our mission to spread the word about the effectiveness of medication assisted treatment. We’re happy to partner with SAMHSA to provide buprenorphine trainings in Albuquerque and increase access to opiate addiction treatment,” said Steven Lucero, Executive Director of the New Mexico Hispanic Medical Association.

The New Mexico Medical Society and the New Mexico Hispanic Medical Society will work with several state partners to make sure that New Mexico physicians have access to these trainings.

About the Office of National Drug Control Policy
The Obama Administration’s drug policy treats the national drug challenge as both a public health and public safety issue. This approach is built upon the latest scientific research demonstrating that substance use disorders are a chronic disease of the brain that can be successfully prevented and treated, and from which one can recover. The Administration has directed Federal agencies to expand community-based efforts to prevent drug use before it begins, empower healthcare workers to intervene early at the first signs of a substance use disorder, expand access to treatment for those who need it, support the millions of Americans in recovery, and pursue “smart on crime” approaches to drug enforcement.

For more information about the Office of National Drug Control Policy visit: