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ASAM Releases Guidelines for Opioid Addiction Treatment

October 21, 2015
The newly released National Practice Guideline for the Use of Medications in the Treatment of Addiction Involving Opioid Use will provide clinicians with practical information for treating opioid use disorder

A number of public and private sector partners have come together recently to announce new efforts to address the epidemic of prescription drug and heroin misuse, addiction and overdose deaths.

The American Society of Addiction Medicine (ASAM) announced that they are teaming up with the Obama Administration to combat and treat opioid use disorder (opioid addiction).

As part of this broad-based effort, ASAM has pledged to:

  • Support high-quality opioid addiction treatment through the dissemination of ASAM’s National Practice Guideline for the Use of Medications in the Treatment of Addiction Involving Opioid Use. ASAM and partner organizations will disseminate the guideline and provide training on its use to more than 245,000 individuals, including more than 125,000 physicians; 1,000 treatment centers; and 135 health plans.
  • Increase access to addiction treatment by training at least 2,500 physicians in office-based treatment of opioid use disorders using buprenorphine.
  • Support training for up to 30,000 health care providers in safe opioid prescribing as part of the Collaborative for REMS Education (CO*RE).
  • Increase awareness about the disease of addiction and available treatment options through communications to at least 3,700 physicians and other clinicians.

“ASAM applauds the Obama Administration for its leadership on this critically important public health issue, and is proud to join our fellow clinicians and public health advocates in making a bold commitment to address this persistent and devastating epidemic,” said ASAM President-Elect Dr. Kelly Clark.

“According to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), 1.9 million Americans suffer from addiction related to prescription pain reliever use, and 586,000 more live with addiction involving heroin use, but barriers to care prohibit an estimated 80% from receiving treatment. The time to change those statistics is today,” noted the press release.

As a association, ASAM has long been committed to increasing access to and improving the quality of addiction treatment, as well as educating physicians, other health care providers and the public about addiction. "ASAM’s recently released Practice Guideline will assist clinicians prescribing pharmacotherapies to patients with addiction related to opioid use. It’s the first such guideline to cover all FDA-approved medications available to treat opioid addiction, and it addresses knowledge gaps about the benefits of treatment medications and their role in recovery," noted the press release.

ASAM has also launched a major new initiative to provide education to primary care physicians and clinicians on addiction medicine and substance use disorders. The ASAM Fundamentals of Addiction Medicine was designed to close the knowledge gap for practicing clinicians who receive little to no education on addiction during their training and equip them with the knowledge and skills needed to identify, treat, or refer patients with substance use disorders.

“We look forward to fulfilling our commitments and working alongside our health care professional colleagues, as well as community leaders and state and federal officials, to ensure those currently suffering from this disease can access evidence-based treatment services and to prevent addiction from impacting more Americans,” said Dr. Clark.

Last updated on: October 21, 2015