Opioid Addiction: Laws, Regulations, and Other Factors Can Affect Medication-Assisted Treatment Access, Report to the Majority Leader, U.S. Senate [open pdf - 815KB]
"The abuse of prescription opioid pain relievers and illicit opioids, such as heroin, have contributed to increasing numbers of overdose deaths in the United States, and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention data show more than 28,000 opioid overdose deaths in 2014. Research has shown that MAT [medication-assisted treatment] can more effectively reduce opioid use and increase treatment retention compared to treatment without medication. GAO [Government Accountability Office] was asked to review issues related to patient and provider use of MAT for opioid addiction. GAO examined (1) how federal laws and regulations apply when using medications to treat opioid addict ion compared to using the same medications for pain management and (2) key factors that can affect access to MAT for opioid addiction. GAO reviewed federal laws and regulations pertaining to MAT medications and reviewed key documents from HHS and other sources. GAO also identified 53 articles from peer -reviewed and scholarly journals related to MAT for opioid addiction for further examination. GAO interviewed stakeholders from patient and provider groups; experts on the issue of addiction treatment; and officials at relevant federal agencies. GAO provided a draft of this report to the Office of National Drug Control Policy, HHS, and the Department of Justice. The Office of National Drug Control Policy agreed with the report's findings. The Office of National Drug Control Policy and HHS provided technical comments, which GAO incorporated as appropriate. The Department of Justice had no comments."
Report to the Majority Leader, U.S. Senate, GAO - 16 - 833
Government Accountability Office:http://www.gao.gov