Health and Human Services (HHS) recently announced an initiative aimed at reducing prescription opioid- and heroin-related overdose, death, and dependence.
Deaths from drug overdose have risen steadily over the past two decades and outnumber deaths from car accidents in the United States. President Obama’s FY 2016 budget includes critical investments to intensify efforts to reduce opioid misuse and abuse, including $133 million in new funding to address this critical issue.
The HHS secretary’s efforts focus on three priority areas that tackle the opioid crisis, which is expected to significantly impact those struggling with substance use disorders and help save lives:
- providing training and educational resources, including updated prescriber guidelines, to assist professionals in making informed prescribing decisions and address the over-prescribing of opioids;
- increasing use of naloxone, as well as supporting the development and distribution of the life-saving drug, to help reduce the number of deaths associated with prescription opioid and heroin overdose;
- expanding the use of medication-assisted treatment (MAT), a comprehensive way to address the needs of individuals that combines the use of medication with counseling and behavioral therapies to treat substance use disorders.