"President Barack Obama tackled the opioid epidemic on Wednesday by telling health care providers across the country that access to medication-assisted treatment must be expanded.
For decades, those treating opioid addiction ignored the scientific consensus that the best approach involved medications approved by the Food and Drug Administration, coupled with counseling. Instead, the treatment industry insisted on a model known as "abstinence," in which any prescription medication aimed at addressing a patient's opioid use disorder was forbidden.
Ahead of a Wednesday speech in West Virginia, which has been hit particularly hard by the opioid crisis, Obama essentially said that will end. He released an order giving federal agencies with health care responsibilities 90 days to identify barriers to MAT and to come up with ways to remove them.
"Only a small minority of Americans who might benefit from this treatment are receiving it," the order notes.
In a conference call Wednesday morning, [Michael] Botticelli mentioned one of the goals outlined by the White House -- doubling the number of physicians who are authorized to prescribe buprenorphine from 30,000 to 60,000. He said that such medications, in combination with counseling support, are the "most effective standard of care" and that far too few doctors prescribe such care. "
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