ASAM releases updated National Practice Guideline to use during COVID outbreak

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The American Society of Addiction Medicine (ASAM) has released last week a focused update to its 2020 National Practice Guideline for the Treatment of Opioid Use Disorder (NPG) for use during the COVID-19 outbreak.

The updated NPG takes into account social distancing requirements across the United States, as well as restricted access to health care providers and increased usage of telehealth services. It includes major revisions to 35 existing recommendations, as well as 13 new ones. The NPG addresses all FDA-approved medications for treating opioid use disorder, and support for making those treatments available in the criminal justice system.

“As the leader in addiction medicine practice guidelines and resources, ASAM continually monitors new scientific advancements and understandings of OUD—as well as the latest evidence-based treatment approaches––so that we can empower decision-makers to care for the estimated 2 million Americans living with the disease,” ASAM President Paul H. Earley said. “During the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic and the associated need for social distancing, it is especially important that clinicians and healthcare providers across the country take steps to ensure that individuals with OUD can continue to receive evidence-based care.”

Additionally, ASAM released a draft of its Guideline on Alcohol Withdrawal Management. The release was important, the organization said, as some states are closing all liquor stores to help curtail the spread of COVID-19. The new guidelines help health care provides identify and treat alcohol withdrawal syndrome, which can cause seizures, delirium, and even, in some cases, death.

While the alcohol withdrawal guideline is still in the copy editing stages, ASAM released a draft for public viewing. The edited version of the guideline is expected to be released in June.

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