White House Continues Efforts to Curb Opioid, Heroin Abuse

President Barack Obama will announce new public and private initiatives directed at curbing opioid abuse across the country.

President Barack Obama today at the National Rx Drug Abuse and Heroin Summit in Atlanta will announce new public and private initiatives directed at curbing opioid and heroin abuse across the country.

There were 18 893 deaths involving prescription opioids in the United States in 2014, up 16% from 2013.

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The president will reveal the following additional actions to address the ever-growing prescription opioid and heroin epidemic:

  • expand access to treatment;
  • establish a Mental Health and Substance Use Disorder Parity Task Force;
  • implement mental health and substance use disorder parity in Medicaid;
  • release additional funding to states purchasing and distributing naloxone, an opioid antagonist;
  • increase public health-public safety partnerships;
  • invest in community policy to address rise in heroin;
  • tackle addiction in rural communities; and
  • grow syringe services programs.

Beginning in fall 2016, more than 60 medical schools will require students to take some form of prescriber education. These courses will focus on the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) Guideline for Prescribing Opioids for Chronic Pain.

The administration’s announcements come on the heels of the Food and Drug Administration (FDA)’s draft guidance intended to support the development of generic versions of approved opioids with abuse-deterrent formulations (ADFs).