The American College of Physicians (ACP) has endorsed President Joe Biden’s 2022 National Drug Control Strategy.
The White House strategy will expand substance use prevention and early intervention strategies and enable physicians to provide treatment to patients with substance use disorder (SUD), the physician group said in a statement.
“The United States is experiencing a devastating drug overdose epidemic with more than 100,000 drug overdose deaths during a 12-month period,” ACP President George M. Abraham, MD, MPH, said in a statement. “SUD poses a heavy societal burden, endangering individual and family health and well-being, tearing through communities and sapping resources from the health care system, more needs to be done to improve access to care. We look forward to working with the administration to implement policies to help better treat SUD.”
The strategy, announced April 21, would evaluate reimbursement policies for treatments, remove barriers to buprenorphine prescribing, and develop addiction curriculum for medical schools. It also promotes proven harm reduction strategies like expanded access to naloxone, a potentially life-saving drug that reverses the effects of opioid overdoses, according to ACP.
The organization also supports the administration’s call for reforms in related criminal justice policies, such as promoting alternatives to incarceration and identifying racial inequities in investigation, arrest, and sentencing data and using that to drive policy change.
ACP said substance abuse is a treatable chronic medical condition like diabetes or hypertension, but access to care is limited.
The White House cited the 2020 National Survey on Drug Use and Health, which stated that among 41.1 million people who needed treatment for SUD, only 2.7 million of them, or 6.5%, received treatment at a specialty treatment facility over the previous year.
On April 25, the White House published a compilation of statements from SUD treatment advocates and lawmakers praising the strategy.