Expanding access to the overdose antidote is just one facet of the widespread, multiagency effort to combat the American opioid epidemic. It is widely agreed upon that if we are ever to end the deadly scourge, we need to change our thinking about addiction and focus on:
- Providing access to addiction treatment services, especially in rural areas.
- Expanding access to prescription-free naloxone to the friends and families of addicts.
- Reducing the length and dose of prescription opioids.
- Encouraging doctors to utilize prescription drug monitoring programs.
- Reigning in pharmaceutical companies.
Despite the passing and adoption of the bipartisan Comprehensive Addiction and Recovery Act (CARA) this year and the President’s plan to spend a billion dollars on addiction treatment services, it turns out that a bill was passed and signed by the President that will make it harder to go after pharmaceutical companies, The Los Angeles Times reports. The Ensuring Patient Access and Effective Drug Enforcement Act of 2016:
- Allows companies accused of not reporting suspicious orders to submit a “corrective action plan” to the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) to convince the agency to postpone or cancel proceedings against them.
- Makes it more difficult for the DEA to temporarily suspend drug companies’ licenses.
“They are taking the word of industry rather than the government’s expert in diversion control,” said Rannazzisi.