The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) works closely with states and communities to develop comprehensive systems of care, including prevention, treatment and recovery support services, to combat the opioid crisis. Access to evidence-based, Food and Drug Administration-approved medication treatments for opioid-use disorder (OUD), also known as Medication-Assisted Treatment, is a critical component to addressing this national emergency. These life-saving medications (methadone, naltrexone and buprenorphine) in combination with psychosocial supports and community recovery services are essential components of SAMHSA’s grant-funded efforts. Through programs like the State Opioid Response, Medication-Assisted Treatment for Prescription Drug and Opioid Addiction, the Strategic Prevention Framework for Prescription Drugs, Building Communities of Recovery and SAMHSA’s Naloxone (opioid overdose antidote) programs, we ensure that evidence-based prevention, treatment and recovery strategies are being utilized across America.
SAMHSA also recognizes that funding alone will not solve the opioid crisis. We urgently need a healthcare workforce trained and ready to provide services for OUD. Over the past 18 months, SAMHSA has made this a top priority. The reconfiguration of our training and technical-assistance programs from a contractor-based, grantee-specific system to a nationally based system focused on the local needs of communities has been a major advancement. We educate clinicians in evidence-based practices to address OUD, substance-use disorders and mental health conditions through our Technology Transfer Center (TTC) Network and our Providers’ Clinical Support System for Medication Assisted Treatment (PCSS-MAT).
SAMHSA launched the Opioid State Targeted Technical Assistance project placing local teams of experts in OUD prevention, treatment and recovery supports in each state to provide specific, tailored assistance. SAMHSA publishes guidance that promotes use of evidence-based practices. Two recent examples are Medications for Opioid Use Disorder Treatment Improvement Protocol (TIP) 63, and a guidance in OUD treatment of women who are pregnant and/or who parent infants. In the long term, strategies to formally educate clinicians in the detection and evidence-based treatment of people living with substance-use disorders is essential to promoting the overall health of Americans.
At SAMHSA, we know what works, and our job is to ensure individuals and families across the nation gain access to care and services needed to address OUD, other substance problems and mental health conditions. Please join us in making sure people get the help they need. If you know someone who needs treatment, contact our National Helpline at 1-800-662-HELP or visit our treatment locator at https://findtreatment.samhsa.gov/.
Elinore F. McCance-Katz, M.D., Ph.D. Assistant Secretary for Mental Health and Substance Use Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), [email protected]