Addiction treatment experts are urging the Biden administration to increase funding for treatment and recovery services, STAT reports.
Medical experts, recovery groups and legislators have proposed reforms including billions of dollars for treatment and recovery services, deregulating addiction treatment medications and making many emergency telehealth allowances permanent. They are also advocating for more harm reduction strategies such as increased needle exchanges, fentanyl test strips and naloxone distribution.
“This has been on the table for many, many years,” said Ayana Jordan, an addiction psychiatrist and Yale mental health researcher. “What’s different is that now there’s a real engagement of addiction scientists, addiction doctors, and harm reduction and policy people all at the same table. And it seems like the administration is tuned in.”
Advocates say they fear other pressing issues, such as the pandemic, racial justice and the economy, are taking precedence over the opioid crisis. Jordan told STAT it would be shortsighted to prioritize other issues without addressing the opioid crisis at the same time. “We can’t talk about trying to achieve racial justice or even minimizing deaths from COVID if we’re not adequately dealing with addiction,” she said.