The opioid epidemic was declared a national public health emergency on October 26, 2017, and, although there have been some significant increases in federal funding and new programs to address this crisis, progress appears to be slow and the United States continues to be severely affected by substance use disorder.1 As of 2016, approximately 2 million individuals in the United States have been diagnosed with opioid use disorder (OUD),1 and an estimated 130 people die every day from a drug overdose.2 To reverse these unacceptable trends, all evidence-based tools must be utilized. Specifically, medication-based treatment, which has been proven to be effective in treating substance use disorder and saving lives, has been severely underutilized for decades. According to 2019 estimates, “less than 35 percent of adults with OUD had received treatment for opioid use in the past year and no national data sources are currently available to precisely estimate the share of those patients who are being treated with one of the three US Food and Drug Administration (FDA)-approved medications.”1
Leshner AI, Dzau VJ. Medication-Based Treatment to Address Opioid Use Disorder. JAMA. 2019;321(21):2071–2072. doi:10.1001/jama.2019.5523
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