PROBLEM: More Americans than ever need addiction treatment. But our health care professionals often don't have the training necessary to provide that care.
SOLUTION: Require prescribers of controlled substances to complete training on treating and managing patients with substance use disorders.
If a doctor can prescribe powerful substances like oxycodone, they should also have a baseline knowledge of how to identify, treat, and manage patients who have substance use disorders. That’s why Shatterproof supports legislation like the Mainstreaming Addiction Treatment (MATE) Act (H.R. 2067), which would greatly improve addiction knowledge among health care professionals.
SOLUTION: Include courses in medical school curricula (and on medical exams) about how to identify and treat addiction.
You might think that this is already the case, but it’s not. Addiction treatment is currently not required by most medical schools, meaning most doctors do not know how to handle substance use disorders in their patients. We backed the Enhancing Access to Addiction Treatment Act (S. 2711) to support the development of medical school courses that will help create to a new generation of physicians with expertise on how to identify and treat addiction.
Training on medications to treat opioid use disorder, such as buprenorphine, is also critically important for medical professionals. We worked with ASAM and AMA on this mini-course for students and existing health care professionals, equipping them with the background and tools needed to prescribe this lifesaving medication.
SOLUTION: Require prescribers of controlled substances to complete continuing education.
We support the Safer Prescribing of Controlled Substances Act (H.R. 2734/S. 1448) which will create an addiction-training requirement for those who prescribe controlled substances. Because again: If you can prescribe powerful substances, you should be well prepared to treat substance use disorders.
Addiction is treatable, but access is limited. Through policy change, substance use disorder treatment can become a part of mainstream medicine.
Federal law says that health insurers must cover behavioral health conditions the same way they do physical ones. But violations are common. State policy change can help.
The addiction crisis is solvable. Change starts with you.