Coalition urges agency to continue funding ‘vital’ program to decrease substance use disorders

The ADA and 33 likeminded stakeholders are asking the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration to continue funding the Providers Clinical Support System Medication Assisted Treatment program. The program helps train and educate health care providers in treating patients with substance use disorders, including opioid use disorder.

In dentistry, the Providers Clinical Support System Medication Assisted Treatment program has assisted the ADA Council on Dental Practice in producing and offering free, CERP-approved continuing education courses on opioid prescribing for more than 10 years.

In December 2022, the coalition wrote to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration to express support for the Providers Clinical Support System Medication Assisted Treatment program and urged the agency to issue a new funding opportunity announcement in order to re-fund it. They noted that the program “fulfills a significant deficit in substance use disorder education and training for prescribers,” including health professionals such as dentists and dental hygienists.

In the letter, the coalition pointed out that the Providers Clinical Support System Medication Assisted Treatment program has more than 800 educational trainings as well as resources and a mentoring program to instill skills development and confidence in treating substance use disorders and co-occurring mental illness. The program’s resources are free and include webinars, mentoring and continuing education courses.

“[P]articipation in mentoring, discussion forums and other activities continues to grow each year,” they wrote. “Clinicians clearly want more — not less — training in treating patients with opioid use disorders, substance use disorders and co-occurring psychiatric disorders. COVID-19 has exacerbated the existing mental health crisis and substance use disorder, and particularly opioid use disorder, epidemic in our nation, creating even greater need for training.”

“If our nation is ever going to see a reduction in the rates of substance use disorders and overdose deaths, we must have a better-trained and well-supported workforce to meet the needs of substance use disorder patients and their families,” the letter concluded. “The Providers Clinical Support System Medication Assisted Treatment program is perfectly positioned with its multidisciplinary support and visibility among clinicians to increase the number of new prescribers and facilitate support networks, so providers feel comfortable beginning to treat substance use disorders.”

The ADA has developed two resources to help dentists educate patients on pain management. Download the Chairside Pain Management Discussion fact sheet and the Chairside Pain Management Checklist for more information.

For more opioid education resources for dental professionals, visit ADA.org.

Follow all of the ADA’s advocacy issues at ADA.org/advocacy.