With the release of an advocacy roadmap last week, the American Society of Addiction Medicine (ASAM) laid out a series of actions that could potentially invigorate the addiction treatment workforce, ensure access and coverage, standardize treatment and ensure care.
The organization—which represents over 6,000 physicians, clinicians, and addiction medicine associated professionals—has labeled the ideas an actionable strategy for policymakers. They are organized by federal, state, regulatory affairs, and other advocacy groups.
On the state level, they also include guiding science-based inclusion of cannabis for medical usage, increased mental health and addiction treatment parity, and reducing punitive drug policies. They also seek healthier federal tobacco policies and evidence-based prevention and addiction research to become the norm.
“We need comprehensive solutions to address such a complex problem,” ASAM President Paul Earley said. “With the Advocacy Roadmap as our guide, ASAM will continue to advocate for equitable access to and coverage for evidence-based addiction treatment services, increased funding for addiction research, and better education among professionals and the public to challenge the stigma and discrimination surrounding individuals with addiction. While our country and profession face significant challenges, we have also made notable progress. ASAM remains dedicated to treating addiction compassionately and effectively and, by doing so, saving lives.”
ASAM notes that addiction is a treatable, chronic medical disease spurred by a mix of nature and nurture, and should be treated as a serious issue in the United States. Despite drug overdoses leading to more than 67,000 deaths in 2018 alone, many Americans, the organization points out, remain unable to access high-quality, evidence-based addiction care.