New guidelines designed to deal with opioid crisis

NORTHAMPTON, Mass. (WWLP) – Physicians are being asked to follow extensive public policy recommendations to tackle the opioid addiction crisis. The recommendations have been written by the American College of Physicians. The biggest takeaway is for physicians to treat any and all addictions as diseases.

For opioid addiction, physicians are urged to check the prescription drug registries of their home state and neighboring states, before writing prescriptions. They are also urged to expand access to the overdose-stopping drug naloxone, and strengthen training in opiate use disorders.

The ACP also wants doctors to be prepared to treat addicts, and not rely on law enforcement to put them in jail.

Continuing Coverage: Opioid Crisis

22News spoke Monday with a recovering opioid addict and a recovering alcoholic about what treatments they found the most helpful.

“A halfway house. It’s strict and it’s hard to stay there, but if you do it, it’s completely worth it,” Kelsy Dudley of Easthampton said.

“I went to detox about six times before I decided to do further treatment. I think they need to make more programs available so that no one gets turned away,” Savanna Tufts of Northampton said.

The ACP also found that opioid treatment is minimal. In 2014, 22.5 million people in the U.S. needed treatment for drug or alcohol abuse, but only 18% received that treatment.

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