Treatment for opioid use disorder is a process that should be carefully managed by a patient and their health care team. This is especially true for women who are pregnant or have newborn children. Fortunately, medication-assisted treatment can be provided during pregnancy and after childbirth and this is often the safest treatment with the best outcome for baby and mother. To assist patients and care provides with learning about options and planning the treatment that is best for other and baby, SAMHSA has published Healthy Pregnancy Healthy Baby fact sheets.
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The opioids crisis is affecting communities across the nation. The disease of opioid use disorder does not discriminate. As the Assistant Secretary for Mental Health and Substance Use, I believe strongly that we must do all we can to stem the tide of this crisis; however, I believe we must take measured, well-thought-out and responsible steps to do this.
The temptation to develop seemingly quick solutions is understandable but I urge the nation to proceed instead with caution.
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.
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).
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.
In the United States, the profile of opioid misuse and opioid use disorder is changing. Nonmedical use of prescription opioids has become as significant a problem as heroin use. In 2013, approximately 4.5 million people reported nonmedical use of prescription pain relievers in the past month and 289,000 reported use of heroin in the past month. Despite the enormity of the problem, the vast majority of people with an opioid use disorder do not receive medication-assisted treatment (MAT) because of limited treatment capacity, financial obstacles, social bias, and other barriers to care.