Today the US Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) will take a step in a positive direction to combat the nation’s opioid epidemic. The HHS will announce a regulation to permit doctors to treat more patients with buprenorphine. The medication, which has been approved by the FDA for nearly 15 years, is the only drug whose prescription by a physician is limited by congress. The Baltimore City Health Commissioner, Dr. Leana Wen, applauded the HHS stating: “I commend HHS for making a decision based on science, not stigma.” Dr Wen explains, “When prescribed properly, medication does not create a new addiction, but rather manages a patient’s disease so that they can successfully achieve recovery.”
The decision, made with the approval of the Obama administration, represents a changing of the tides in the perception of prescription drug addiction and treatment that aligns with the philosophy at Concerted Care Group. Stigma and misconception of medication-assisted-treatment have consistently been barriers to appropriate treatment of the disease of addiction. Steps taken to raise awareness and improve access to treatment on a national, state, or community level, are steps in the right direction. At Concerted Care Group we engage in the community to diminish the misperceptions of addiction and medication-assisted-treatment and to reach individuals who may benefit from services but are having trouble getting their foot in the door.
Baltimore County representative John Sarbanes, and other democrats wrote the following, in a letter that vies for proper funding to be attached to the HHS Bill: “We believe that the opioid epidemic is truly a public health crisis and should be treated as such.” The next step in our communities is to grasp this understanding at the ground level. At Concerted Care Group we treat every client as an individual, a member of the community who is battling an illness while juggling all of life’s other challenges. Too often, people see an addict in a vacuum, without seeing a person with past and present obstacles, influences, achievements and accomplishments.