Today’s opiate addiction epidemic has gained considerable momentum since the turn of the 21st century. What was once confined to urban areas just 20 years ago now affects people from all walks of life.
According to the Department of Health & Human Services, overdose-related deaths involving prescription painkillers and heroin have nearly quadrupled since 1999. In the absence of some form of action, the next 20 years may well see addiction’s impact reach a point of no return in the United States.
With a Republican-run Congress in place, President-Elect Donald Trump has the wind at his back as America decides how to tackle a growing opiate addiction epidemic. With newly passed legislation ready to be put into action, all that’s missing is a steady hand on the tiller.
While Mr. Trump has laid out a few plans on how he will combat addiction rates, many key factors still remain up in the air, one of which being health care coverage.
Opiate Addiction Treatment 2017 – Donald Trump’s Objectives
As a presidential candidate, Trump listed a few of his plans for dealing with the opiate addiction epidemic of today:
- Building a wall across the Mexican border to stop the influx of heroin
- Making naloxone, the drug used to treat opiate overdose more accessible
- Restrict the amount of prescription opioids manufactured in the United States
- Provide incentives for state and local governments to mandate treatment provisions
- Prosecute drug traffickers
- Close shipping loopholes for drugs like fentanyl that come from China
- Speed up the Food & Drug Administration’s approval process of non-opioid pain medications
While Trump’s plans appear to address the addiction problem from all angles, he has yet to introduce plans to change the way opiate addiction is treated. As opiate addiction already has a firm foothold across communities, the relapse aspect of addiction must be addressed in order for any real progress to be made.
Comprehensive Addiction & Recovery Act
As of July 2016, the Comprehensive Addiction & Recovery Act, or CARA was signed into law. According to GovTrack, this piece of legislation lays out key objectives for enhancing opiate addiction treatment services:
- Make medication-assisted treatments, such as methadone and buprenorphine more accessible
- Identify and treat incarcerated individuals rather than relying on imprisonment to deter drug-related crimes
- Improve prescription drug monitoring programs and make needed treatment accessible for at-risk individuals who attempt to scam the system
With a ready-made piece of legislation in place, CARA nicely compliments Trump’s plans for attacking the opiate addiction epidemic. More importantly, CARA incorporates action-based measures for changing how opiate addiction is treated.
An Uncertain Future for Affordable Care Act Provisions
While having a plan in place to combat opiate addiction rates in this country is critical, ensuring those who need treatment help can afford it is equally important. The Affordable Care Act of 2010, or ACA makes provisions for people who need opiate addiction treatment to access and pay for treatment services.
To date, it’s unknown whether Trump will repeal the ACA or modify it. Without a solid plan for ensuring affected individuals can afford to take advantage of changes made in the treatment delivery system, any plans made will likely be for naught.
If you or someone you know needs help overcoming opiate addiction’s effects in your life, please don’t hesitate to call our helpline at 800-442-6158 Who Answers? to speak with one of our addiction counselors.