Addiction Blog has published an interview with Legal Action Center’s Director and President Paul Samuels about the effectiveness of medication-assisted treatment for opioid dependence and the need to make addiction medications more widely available.
The interview followed the release of LAC’s new report, “Confronting an Epidemic: The Case for Eliminating Barriers to Medication-Assisted Treatment of Heroin and Opioid Addiction“. It includes a detailed discussion about the types of medications currently available for the treatment of opioid addiction, the barriers that exist that prevent people from receiving these life-saving treatments, and ways to expand access to MAT. It also reminds readers about the lives we can save by making these treatments more available.
According to Paul Samuels, “this issue is about the value of human life and our moral responsibility to look out for our neighbors and family members.” This is because:
“Opioid misuse has been on a frightening upward trajectory in this country. Deaths from overdose have nearly tripled (tripled!) in just the last few years. Improved access to medication-assisted treatment will save lives and preserve and heal families and communities across the country.”
Samuels makes a number of recommendations, including expanding public and private insurance coverage of MAT, reducing insurance policy barriers and barriers in the criminal justice system that keep people from receiving MAT or continuing on their treatment when it is working for them, and educating the public, healthcare workers, and criminal justice practitioners about the extensive science proving the effectiveness of medication-assisted treatment.
“Not every person with an opioid misuse issue needs to be treated with MAT. But the decision of how best to treat a substance use disorder should be left to the patient and their healthcare provider, informed by the best available science.”
Read the full interview here.