WASHINGTON, DC – LAC Director and President Paul Samuels and Former U.S. Drug Czar and retired Army General Barry McCaffrey published an op-ed in The Hill last week calling on Congress to pass the Comprehensive Addiction and Recovery Act, or CARA. According to the authors, CARA “would invest substantial funds in addiction services at both the community level and within the criminal justice system.”
The op-ed, timed to coincide with the release of LAC’s new report, Confronting an Epidemic: The Case for Eliminating Barriers to Medication-Assisted Treatment of Heroin and Opioid Addiction, calls MAT “a tragically underutilized tool in helping people enter and sustain recovery.” It also lays out some of the barriers to receiving medication-assisted treatment:
“Public and private insurance often unnecessarily restrict coverage of, and access to, medications. Many health, social services, and criminal justice systems lack the resources and medical knowledge to recommend and administer MAT effectively. While some understand the value of MAT and utilize it, many still do not understand its value or even have harmful stereotypes that do not comport with proven medical evidence.”
Samuels and McCaffrey recommend passing the Comprehensive Addiction and Recovery Act and expanding access to medication-assisted treatment because MAT “reduces drug use, disease rates, and criminal activity among those addicted to opiates.”
Read the whole op-ed here.