Monday, February 26, 2018

Map shows how well your state is fighting the opioid epidemic with best practice, medication-assisted therapy

"There’s a simple way to understand how the opioid epidemic got so bad in America: In the U.S., it is much easier to get high than it is to get help for addiction," German Lopez reports for Vox. This is more true in some states than others, as illustrated by this map by health research firm Avalere Health, which shows the ratio of certified buprenorphine providers to opioid overdose deaths. Buprenorphine is one of three different medications for medication-assisted therapy (MAT), widely acknowledged to be the most effective form of treatment for opioid addiction. Lopez reasons that a state with  a low number of MAT providers and a high number of overdose deaths is not fully addressing its opioid crisis.
Avalere Health map; click on the image to enlarge it.
The Food and Drug Administration announced yesterday that it will loosen restrictions on MAT by allowing pharmaceutical companies to sell medications that curb cravings without fully stopping addiction, Sheila Kaplan reports for The New York Times. The move is a change of diredction; last year, then-Health and Human Services Secretary Tom Price suggested he was skeptical" of MAT, Politico Pulse reports.

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