Treatment Options Needed in Wake of President’s Heroin Initiative

Drugs out of jeans pocket

(DGIwire) — In response to a national rise in fatal heroin overdoses, this past August the White House announced a new Heroin Response Strategy. The program would initially be funded for $2.5 million by the White House Office of National Drug Control Policy through five “high-intensity drug trafficking areas” and cover 15 states, administration officials said via an article in The Washington Post. The plan would focus on tracing the sources of heroin, where fentanyl—a deadly additive blamed for a rising share of deaths—is being added. The plan also pairs law enforcement officials with public health workers in an effort to address the causes of the problem.

President Obama’s plan mirrors a series of similar state-level efforts. For example, on July 17, 2015, Gov. Charlie Baker of Massachusetts asked lawmakers for an additional $27.8 million that would fund new initiatives to fight the opioid epidemic, which would increase education and make treatment more accessible to patients suffering from addiction, reported the Boston Herald. Baker signed a supplemental Fiscal Year 2015 budget that includes money for recommendations of his 18-member Opioid Task Force, including $15.2 million for the Department of Public Health for general substance abuse services. And Massachusetts is far from the only state increasing funding to battle opioid addiction. For example, in February, Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced on his website that New York State would provide $8 million to state organizations to aid them in combating heroin and prescription drug abuse in local communities over five years.

Meanwhile, when it comes to treating opioid addiction effectively, doctors are advised to focus not only on providing behavioral support but also on treating the body through medication. That was one key message presented to a Congressional subcommittee recently by a range of medical experts, including Nora Volkow, MD, director of the National Institute on Drug Abuse, and Michael Botticelli, director of the Office of National Control Policy.

For those battling addiction, a consistent support system can be helpful to combat relapse. BioDelivery Sciences has developed an important treatment and also a resource, called InReach™, which includes a website (inreachassist.com) and app (initially available for the iPhone here). InReach, which went online in December 2014, offers a comprehensive array of information and resources to support patients and their families.* It helps identify personal goals and progress; track moods, triggers and medication; record appointments; and create boards of messages and photos to help keep users positive throughout the recovery process. InReach is not a substitute for a voluntary rehabilitation program.

*InReach is not intended to substitute professional medical advice or to be used as a diagnostic or treatment tool.

 

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