In New Jersey, along with our nation as a whole, we are facing a true epidemic of opioid overuse and addiction, which may lead to death by overdose, either deliberate or accidental. Overdose deaths involving prescription or illicit opioids have increased by 200% since the year 2000, which is correlated with a similar increase in prescribed opioids, and a rising number of people with opioid use disorders.
Along with prevention of opioid addiction, ready access to effective treatment is needed to stem the epidemic. Medication-assisted treatment (MAT), which may include the specialized use of buprenorphine, methadone, or naltrexone, is far more effective than psychosocial approaches alone in treating opioid use disorders. MAT has been shown to offer much better treatment outcomes and prevent death.
The New Jersey Psychiatric Association believes that it is crucial that MAT becomes accessible for all individuals in New Jersey who are addicted to opioids.
At this time, a lack of wide accessibility to MAT in either inpatient or outpatient treatment centers in New Jersey is a major barrier to appropriate, effective care. Specific barriers include:
Conclusion: To turn the tide on this epidemic, the NJPA recommends the following:
Resource: Zerbo, Erin, The Scientific Basis for Opioid Addiction and Treatment, NJPA …..March 2017
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