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Opioid use disorder is one of the most serious public health challenges facing our nation, affecting nearly 2.4 million Americans in 2015. Unfortunately, many who need treatment are not receiving it.
There has been a five-fold increase in babies born with Neonatal Abstinence Syndrome (NAS) from 2000 to 2012. These babies are a part of why HHS has made addressing the opioid epidemic a Department-wide priority.In collaboration with partners across federal government, SAMHSA is sharpening its focus on opioid-dependent pregnant women. And with a $1 billion, two-year investment of new, mandatory funding in the President’s Fiscal Year (FY) 2017 Budget proposal to bolster our efforts, we’re expanding and intensifying our work to prevent and treat opioid dependence, including identification and treatment of NAS.
Expanding access to life-saving treatment.
Last week, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) detailed several new actions that we are taking to address the country’s opioid crisis. One of these actions was Yesing the final rule to increase the patient limit for practitioners prescribing buprenorphine. This rule aims to improve access to buprenorphine, which is prescribed along with behavioral health services as part of medication-assisted treatment (MAT).
There are more than 700,000 opioid-related hospitalizations every year. It is important that people with opioid-related hospitalizations receive care that will promote recovery and reduce the risk of opioid misuse, readmission to the hospital, or death.To find out more about the care patients received after an opioid-related hospitalization, researchers at SAMHSA and Truven Health Analytics studied which medications were filled by privately insured patients in the 30 days following their hospital stay. Hospitalization events were studied partly because they represent an opportune moment to connect a patient with a safety net and substance use treatment system that saves lives.
The opioid problem won’t wait. Seventy-eight people die every day in the United States from an opioid overdose. Nearly 2.2 million Americans struggle every day with an addiction to opioid pain medications or illegal opioids like heroin. Opioid addiction, also called opioid use disorder, is a complex disease associated with chronic drug use, high-risk behavior, and a host of other medical and behavioral complications.