February 04, 2016
President Obama Builds upon ASA-Supported Efforts and Proposes New Funding to Address Prescription Opioid Abuse Epidemic
On February 2, President Obama announced that his FY 2017 Budget includes $1.1 billion in new funding to address the prescription opioid abuse and heroin use epidemic. Specifically, the proposed budget includes: 1) $1 billion in new mandatory funding over two years to expand access to treatment, and 2) approximately $500 million to build upon efforts to expand state-level prescription drug overdose prevention strategies, increase the availability of medication assisted treatment programs, improve access to naloxone, and support targeted enforcement activities. President Obama’s budget has been presented to Congress, which will draft its own budget proposal for FY 2017. In addition, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services released an Informational Bulletin that describes Medicaid pharmacy benefit management strategies for mitigating prescription drug abuse and discusses strategies to increase the provision of naloxone.
This proposal builds upon the President’s October 2015 announcement that more than 40 provider groups, including ASA, were partnering with the federal government to address the prescription drug abuse epidemic. As part of that effort, the White House also announced that the Fraternal Order of Police would distribute to its 330,000 members ASA’s Opioid Overdose Resuscitation card which identifies the signs and symptoms of an overdose and how to respond.
ASA’s partnership with the White House is part of ASA’s multi-pronged approach to address the prescription drug abuse epidemic. Recent efforts by ASA include:
• Partnering with the American Medical Association on the Task Force to Reduce Prescription Opioid Abuse which is working to increase physician registration and use of prescription drug monitoring programs, enhance physician education on opioid prescribing, reduce the stigma of pain and substance use disorder, and expand access to naloxone.
• Providing formal recommendations to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention on their 2016 Guideline for Prescribing Opioid for Chronic Pain.
• Collaborating with physician and pharmacy organizations to develop a consensus document highlighting red flag warning signs for physicians and pharmacists in the prescribing and dispensing of controlled substances.
• Collaborating with the Pain Care Coalition to issue formal letters of support for the reauthorization of the National All Schedules Prescription Electronic Reporting Act (H.R. 1725), a federal bill that would provide support to states for their prescription drug monitoring programs.
• Testifying before the Food and Drug Administration in support of expanding access to naloxone.
ASA will continue to work closely with the federal government and stakeholders to address the prescription drug abuse epidemic, and more information on ASA’s efforts is available here.