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ADA, others ask Congress for funding to curb opioid addiction

December 01, 2016

By Jennifer Garvin

Washington — In a continuing effort to address the nation's opioid epidemic, the ADA and 88 other groups are asking Congress to fund the Comprehensive Addiction and Recovery Act and to increase existing funding for prevention and treatment efforts.

"Significant funding is needed to ensure evidence-based approaches to prevention, treatment and recovery strategies are available to the many Americans who so desperately need them," wrote the coalition in a Nov. 28 letter, led by the American Osteopathic Association. "The wide-ranging and devastating impact of this true public health emergency on individuals, families, and our communities demonstrates the pressing need for this critical funding."

In July, the Congress passed and the president signed the Comprehensive Addiction and Recovery Act into law. The ADA and 83 other organizations commended the House and Senate for passing legislation to help reduce prescription opioid abuse. The legislation authorizes prescribers to write partial fill prescriptions for Schedule II controlled substances. It also includes grants to expand pain management training and improve prescription drug monitoring programs.

"Public awareness of the opioid crisis has grown significantly in recent months as its effects continue to be felt by more and more of our nation's residents," wrote the coalition. "Importantly, this greater awareness also highlights shifting attitudes in how we as a society view addiction and substance use disorders, treating them as the diseases they are rather than as moral failings or weaknesses."

The groups noted that the U.S. Surgeon General's Nov. 17 report on addiction is "essential in addressing substance use disorders, as it would be with other health conditions."

"We therefore urge you to provide the maximum possible allocation to fund not only the grant programs designated under the bipartisan Comprehensive Addiction and Recovery Act passed earlier this year, but to also substantially increase funding for much-needed prevention and treatment efforts for opioid misuse and related disorders."

The coalition also thanked legislators for their bipartisan efforts and for recognizing the importance of addressing the epidemic.

"We deeply appreciate your work, and as providers we strongly urge Congress to ensure that existing and newly-created programs have the necessary resources to meet the needs of patients and families struggling with opioid use disorders.

"Thank you again for your bipartisan work to date to help fight this disease," concluded the coalition. "With this final opportunity before the end of the 114th Congress, we encourage you to provide the maximum possible funding for prevention, treatment, and recovery efforts, and we stand ready to support you in this vital effort."

For more information about opioids, including upcoming webinars and subscriber tips, visit ADA.org/opioids.