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Six Ways to Fight the Opioid Crisis

By: ARIA Admin September 17, 2019 no comments

Six Ways to Fight the Opioid Crisis


While efforts to combat the opioid epidemic continues, such as the recent funding of 1.8 billion from the government, the problem will not go away overnight.

According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA),  more than 130 people die every day overdosing on opioids.

Now, the American Medical Association (AMA) has come out with six steps to combat the crisis, believing their methods will alleviate the issue. Colorado, Mississippi, North Carolina, and Pennsylvania are all having an opioid epidemic, and the AMA has released six ways to fight the opioid crisis in these states. These methods, however, can be for any state going through an opioid epidemic.

Medicated-Assisted Treatment (MAT)

The AMA suggests there should be better access to medicated-assisted treatment (MAT). These efforts include FDA approved substance-use abuse disorder (SUD) treatments such as methadone, buprenorphine (Suboxone), naltrexone, and buprenorphine-naltrexone products. Also, the MAT should be affordable.

Mental-Health Parity Enforcement

Enforcement of mental-health parity laws should increase, such as the Mental Health Parity and Addiction Act of 2008. According to AMA, the law requires public and private insurance coverage of SUD and mental ailments, impartial with other medical benefits.

Increase Network Improvements

AMA calls for enforcing network-adequacy laws proper building of the network capacity. For instance, Pennsylvania built a hub-and-spoke network of 45 opioid disorder treatment centers of excellence. The centers provide primary care, professional community-based providers, and certified recovery peer specialists.

Pennsylvania was able to create the treatment centers of excellence because they tapped state Medicaid funds and behavioral health funds, cutting coverage gaps. As a result, the hub-and-spoke network was created.

Pain Care Improvements

Since policymakers and prescribers are decreasing the access of opioid painkillers to treat pain, it’s crucial to expand access to nonopioid “pain-management strategies.” Ensuring that insurances support comprehensive pain care is a necessity.

A good example is Colorado, who’s Medicaid program covers non-opioid options and other forms of therapy.

Increase Naloxone Access

Enabling people to obtain naloxone without a prescription can be beneficial to communities. Naloxone (Narcan) is known for reversing an overdose, saving lives. Other states have enacted increased access to naloxone, such as New Jersey. Free naloxone has also been distributed during community events to spread awareness.

Policies and Program Evaluation

Ensuring your state has up-to-date, efficient, and effective policies and programs to combat the opioid crisis is a must. States should aim to save lives, reducing harm, and improving patients’ pain outcomes. The AMA believes in conducting timely evaluations to ensure successful opioid programs.


While the AMA states their methods may not be easy to implement, but necessary to fight the epidemic.

To read more about the AMA’s ways to fight the opioid crisis, click here.

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