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American Society of Addiction Medicine launches major research into opioid drug therapies and public policies

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Many FDA-approved medications used to treat opioid dependence are being limited by state governments.

The argument is that some of these drugs are continuing to cause dependence - not treat the underlying addiction, and even exacerbating prescription drug abuse for many users.

The American Society of Addiction Medicine (ASAM), however, says that more research is needed to understand the efficacy of opioid dependence drugs and how the public policies currently in place affect treatment outcomes.

Research released this summer

An ASAM initiative - "Advancing Access to Addiction Medications" - will provide extensive research into these topics that should be released this summer.

“Providing the best possible care to each individual patient with opioid dependence requires physicians to have the breadth and depth of medical science at their disposal,” said ASAM President Stuart Gitlow, M.D.

Gitlow notes that the restrictions on these FDA-approved drugs could delay effective treatment programs for those that need them the most. As a chronic disease, many health experts say that addiction needs the same attention as other serious medical conditions.

“No state legislature would put a time limit on medications for any other chronic disease, such as diabetes or hypertension," Gitlow said.

The initiative

Research for the ASAM initiative will include an analysis of current research on the clinical efficacy and economic benefits of medications, a survey of public and private payers and an outreach component to public health and treatment communities.

More information can be found on ASAM's website.

Source: SF Gate

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