The President's declaration of an opioid epidemic is a first step

WASHINGTON, D.C. — According to the CEO of the American Psychological Association, President Trump's declaration of the opioid epidemic as a public health emergency is a necessary first step, but it does not address the urgent need for greater federal monies to combat the issue.

12/21/20221 min read

"We commend the president for calling the opioid crisis a national health emergency, as the American Psychological Association has been demanding," said Arthur C. Evans Jr., PhD, CEO of the American Psychological Association. "However, this step does not guarantee that extra — and desperately needed — federal funding will be directed to this problem." We encourage the president and Congress to allocate additional funds to the states, which are on the front lines of the pandemic."

Other ways to combat the growth in opioid use, according to Evans, include:

Increasing financing for substance abuse prevention and treatment services at the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, as well as research on a wide range of treatments for opioid use disorder at the National Institutes of Health.

Allowing the government to bargain for lower naloxone pricing, a medicine that immediately reverses the effects of an opiate overdose.

To reduce the occurrence of opioid use disorder, psychologists and other behavioral health practitioners should promote the use of nonpharmacological alternatives for pain management.

Granting Medicaid waivers to all 50 states and other U.S. jurisdictions to allow coverage of mental health and substance use disorder services at mental health and substance abuse treatment facilities.

Providing effective treatment options for people charged with minor opioid-related offenses instead of jail.

Appointing a director of the White House Office of National Drug Control Policy and filling the position of Secretary of Health and Human Services would help ensure that all available steps are taken to respond to the emergency declaration.

"It's vital that we provide inexpensive, high-quality health care and that our health-care system embraces integrated health care, in which psychologists and other health-care experts collaborate to deliver comprehensive health care." "Working to prevent and treat substance use issues is part of that," Evans noted.

Information about the subject:

Response of the American Psychological Association to the Opioid Commission's Draft Interim Report (PDF, 157KB)

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.