Advocacy Update

May 22, 2020: State Advocacy Update


News accounts of increases in opioid-related mortality continue to increase during the COVID-19 global pandemic, according to an updated AMA issue brief (PDF).

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Reports from more than 25 states raise ongoing concerns for those with a mental illness or substance use disorder about the need for access to evidence-based treatment. This includes access to harm reduction services, including naloxone to help save lives from opioid-related overdose, as well as access to syringe services programs. In light of these reports, the AMA has updated its state-focused recommendations to help patients with opioid use disorder, pain and for harm reduction efforts. This includes a reminder for states and medical societies to emphasize the importance of co-prescribing naloxone to patients at risk of opioid-related overdose. The AMA also recommends that states include in future grant requests an emphasis on sterile needle and syringe services programs. As the U.S. Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration—and other federal agencies—are provided new funding for emergency grants, grant funding to support sterile needle and syringe exchange can help protect public health, reduce the spread of blood-borne infectious disease and encourage those with an opioid use disorder to enter treatment