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White House seeks $1.1 billion to combat opioid abuse, increase access to treatment

February 09, 2016

By Jennifer Garvin

Washington — The White House announced Feb. 2 that it is seeking more than a billion dollars in federal funds to help reduce the rates of addiction, overdoses and deaths associated with prescription opioid abuse.

The bulk of the funding, $920 million, will go towards helping states increase access to treatment facilities. There is also $500 million earmarked — a $90 million increase from 2015— for expanding state-level prescription drug overdose prevention strategies, including increasing the availability of medication-assisted treatment programs, particularly those in rural areas, and improving access to naloxone, according to a White House release.

In October 2015, President Obama announced that more than 40 provider groups, including the ADA, pledged to provide training on opioid prescribing in the next two years as part of the American Medical Association Task Force. Since then, more than 66,000 providers have completed prescriber training, putting the task force on pace to meet that goal, according to the release.

The Association joined the task force in August 2015 and has pledged to increase the number of dentists who complete continuing education webinars on responsible opioid prescribing by 25 percent.

The free CE courses are open to members and non-members alike and will cover the latest techniques for recognizing when a patient may be seeking opioids for non-medical purposes, and how to briefly counsel and refer those patients for appropriate substance abuse treatment. The next course will be a March 16 webinar on ADA.org.

For more information about prescription opioid use in dentistry, visit ADA.org/opioids.