The APA gives the president's opioid plan a mixed review

WASHINGTON, D.C. — The American Psychological Association's CEO, Arthur C. Evans Jr., PhD, issued the following statement in response to President Trump's plan to combat the opioid epidemic:

12/21/20221 min read

"While we applaud the administration for bringing the opioid issue in America to the attention it deserves, President Trump's focus on prosecution and punishment, including the death sentence for some traffickers, is ill-advised and harsh."

"Instead, we urge the administration and Congress to focus on expanding access to nonpharmacological pain management methods to prevent opioid addiction, as well as evidence-based treatment and recovery support programs for individuals who are addicted."

Evans urged policymakers to focus their efforts on the following areas:

  • Increasing access to integrated pain management services and concomitant mental health illnesses, as well as promoting nonpharmacologic treatment for chronic pain.

  • Providing a full range of therapies for opioid addicts, including psychotherapy and counseling as part of medication-assisted treatment and other psychosocial interventions.

  • For those battling with addiction, recovery support programs such as housing, education, and supported jobs are available.

  • Expanding the workforce of mental health and substance abuse treatment professionals, as well as boosting the performance of health care workers through education and training.

  • Increasing research funding into psychosocial therapies for the treatment of chronic pain, opioid addiction, and other substance use disorders.

  • Improving the service delivery system by making administrative and infrastructure changes, such as enforcing mental health and substance use parity laws, reforming payment systems, changing child welfare system processes to keep families affected by opioid addiction together, and increasing the availability and quality of drug court services.

The American Psychological Association is the largest scientific and professional organization representing psychology in the United States, with headquarters in Washington, D.C. Nearly 115,700 academics, educators, clinicians, consultants, and students are members of the American Psychological Association. APA seeks to enhance the creation, communication, and application of psychological knowledge to benefit society and better people's lives through divisions in 54 subfields of psychology and connections with 60 state, territory, and Canadian provincial associations.