Addiction Experts Object to Price’s Remarks on Medication-Assisted Treatment

Health and Human Service Secretary Tom Price

Health and Human Services Secretary Tom Price’s description of medication-assisted treatment for addiction as “substituting one opioid for another” is inaccurate, according to addiction experts who have asked Price to “set the record straight.”

A letter to Price signed by almost 700 researchers and practitioners notes there is a substantial body of research showing that methadone and buprenorphine, also known as medication-assisted treatment, are effective in treating opioid addiction. These medications, which are opioids, have been the standard of care for addiction treatment for years, they wrote.

Price made his remarks to the Charleston Gazette-Mail last week, NPR reports.

Experts who wrote the letter said they are concerned Price’s comments perpetuate inaccurate views about medication-assisted treatment. “It’s not replacing one drug for another, because we define addiction based on behavior, not on the absence or presence of a drug,” said Dr. Corey Waller, an addiction psychiatrist who heads legislative advocacy at the American Society of Addiction Medicine.

Photo credit: Reuters

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    Fr. Jack Kearney, M.Div., CATC IV, CATE

    May 18, 2017 at 2:42 PM

    Glad to see the Partnership positively reporting on evidence-based Harm Reduction practices. Now if only we could get you do the same for smoking….

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    May 18, 2017 at 1:16 PM

    When done properly, Medication-Assisted Treatment coupled with behavioral therapies and support can be a lifesaver. However, the profit motive becomes involved too often and addicts just “switch dealers” from the one on the street to the storefront clinic. The main problem with the dealing out of the clinic is that it is too often sanctioned by government and supported by tax dollars. If the industry would police itself better, comments like Tom Price’s would sound more absurd.

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    May 18, 2017 at 12:57 PM

    As a nurse in a substance abuse detox, I have seen hundreds of people struggle to get off buprenorphine and methadone. The detox is longer due to 1/2 life, it’s much more difficult and the longer on buprenorphine the more emotional they are. We also see the ones that have figured out how to keep their dope habit going, and know how to get high off of it. I agree with Price, I’m sure the 700 who signed, make plenty of money from it.

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