Statement attributable to:
Gerald E. Harmon, M.D.
American Medical Association President
"The American Medical Association commends the Biden Administration for responding to the spike in drug overdoses with an evidence-based, humane approach to increasing access to care for patients with a substance use disorder and harm reduction services. This plan recognizes that individuals, families and communities have been decimated by this public health epidemic. The AMA has urged a public health response that focuses on how to best treat substance use disorders as well as prevent overdoses and encourage recovery. This comprehensive approach recognizes that we need an inclusive federal approach—free of stigma—based on best available data. An inclusive approach means embracing the variety of harm reduction strategies. We have advocated for naloxone to be sold over the counter, for fentanyl test strips, for widespread access to sterile needle and syringe exchange services.
“Obstacles like prior authorization, arbitrary medication limits, and bureaucratic and time-consuming physician waivers that limit patient options are still preventing patients from receiving the treatments recommended by their physicians. All of these need to be addressed as part of a comprehensive approach. The administration recognizes that the epidemic has evolved, and illicitly manufactured opioids such as fentanyl are increasingly behind the growing number of overdose deaths, including an alarming rise in tablets that are designed to look like prescription medications.
“As physicians, we have an up-close view of the epidemic. We know there’s no magic bullet, and we need local and national policy makers to embrace a variety of approaches to help us heal our communities."
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About the American Medical Association
The American Medical Association is the physicians’ powerful ally in patient care. As the only medical association that convenes 190+ state and specialty medical societies and other critical stakeholders, the AMA represents physicians with a unified voice to all key players in health care. The AMA leverages its strength by removing the obstacles that interfere with patient care, leading the charge to prevent chronic disease and confront public health crises and, driving the future of medicine to tackle the biggest challenges in health care.