What you can do to help?
Do you want to get engaged in opioid advocacy? APA Services Inc.'s director of congressional affairs, Scott Barstow, suggests that psychologists:
Find out more about how pain management and opioid treatment are handled in your area. Is there a sufficient number of inpatient and outpatient therapy slots? Do patients have access to psychiatric therapy as well as the entire range of addiction medications? Is such treatment covered by Medicaid or private insurance?
After finding treatment gaps, start phoning city council members, state legislators, and other decision-makers.
Make contact with members of the Cong.
How can you get involved in this year's appropriations bill to ask them to fund the initiatives established in last year's SUPPORT for Patients and Communities Act? "Only about one out of every four Americans suffering from opioid addiction receives sufficient treatment," says Barstow. "Many experts believe that fresh federal investment of $10 billion to $20 billion per year for the next several years is required to adequately ramp up treatment."
Act on a local level. "A lot of the action will take place at the state level," Barstow says. According to Barstow, state Medicaid agencies and substance use disorder agencies would be the focus of a lot of activity, including decision-making on how to use any additional federal cash for treatment, prevention, and recovery programs. In addition, 14 states have yet to implement Medicaid expansion, which has greatly boosted access to opioid use treatment in those that have done so, according to him.
Visit www.apa.org/advocacy/substance-use for additional information.