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CMA Applauds the Enactment of Federal Opioid Legislation

The California Medical Association (CMA) applauded the enactment of H.R. 6 – a sweeping bipartisan bill that addresses nearly every component of the national opioid epidemic.

The legislation would improve access to preventive services, opioid use disorder treatment programs, medication-assisted treatment (MAT) and non-opioid therapies, including mental health services. It would lift restrictions on using telemedicine for treatment of substance use disorders. To address the escalation in overdose deaths, it would also strengthen law enforcement efforts to crack down on international shipments of illicit drugs such as fentanyl. H.R. 6 also includes an innovative Medicare alternative health care delivery model to allow a multidisciplinary approach to managing and coordinating care for patients with substance use disorders. 

“H.R. 6 provides crucial resources to expand access to treatment and prevention programs to combat opioid use disorder,” said CMA President David H. Aizuss, M.D. “On behalf of California physicians, we commend Congress for working with CMA and others to create a balanced approach that ensures patients have access to appropriate treatment, while reducing the risk of prescription misuse, addiction and overuse.”

Even prior to the passage of H.R. 6, California has been making significant strides in addressing the opioid epidemic. A recent American Medical Association (AMA) report found that California saw two consecutive years of decreases in prescription-related opioid deaths, as well as a 24 percent decrease in opioid prescriptions between 2014 and 2017, which surpassed the national average. CMA offers physicians who prescribe opioids and other controlled substances access to up-to-date information on a wide range of issues, including how to provide treatment that meets the community standard of care, and how to manage the risks that come with prescribing opioids.

“These additional federal resources, combined with our current state efforts, further enable California physicians to lead the nation in implementing effective policies that focus on treatment for those suffering from substance use disorders, while ensuring access to high-quality, evidence-based treatment for pain,” said Dr. Aizus.

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