American Society of Addiction Medicine Releases National Practice Guidelines

The American Society of Addiction Medicine (ASAM) recently convened stakeholders, including several medical societies, eight federal agencies, patient and payers organizations at the National Press Club in Washington, DC, for a press conference and stakeholder summit to announce and accelerate the adoption of its newly released National Practice Guideline for the Use of Medications in the Treatment of Addiction Involving Opioid Use (National Practice Guideline) and associated products.

The meeting announced the release of a journal article and full supplement of the National Practice Guideline in the Journal of Addiction Medicine (JAM), a pocket guide and mobile application, and a PowerPoint slide deck, all containing best clinical practices in the treatment of addiction involving opioid use in easy to understand formats that if implemented, could save the lives of tens of thousands of Americans each year.

“The National Practice Guideline and associated products will assist clinicians prescribing pharmacotherapies to patients with opioid addiction. It addresses knowledge gaps about the benefits of treatment medications and their role in recovery, while guiding evidence-based coverage standards by payers,” said Dr. Jeffrey Goldsmith, ASAM President.

During the Press Conference, Drs. Margaret Jarvis and Kyle Kampman, both instrumental in the guideline’s development, spoke to the need for clinical guidance in the use of Food and Drug Administration-approved and lifesaving medications in the treatment of addiction. “Though medications are both clinical and cost-effective interventions, there is a significant gap between those who need treatment and those who receive it,” said Dr. Margaret Jarvis, chair of the Quality Improvement Council which oversaw the guideline development process. “Research has documented that less than 30 percent of treatment programs offer medications, and less than half of eligible patients in those programs receive medications.”

Additionally, a panel of federal, state and private sector representatives discussed why the National Practice Guideline is a timely resource and how it can be used to address the United States’ current opioid epidemic. Overdoses from prescribed opioids and heroin kill 68 people a day in the United States. The number of deaths from prescription opioids has more than tripled since the 1990s. From 2002 to 2013, the rate of heroin overdose deaths nearly quadrupled.

Federal speakers included: Nora Volkow, MD, Director, National Institute on Drug Abuse; Thomas R. Frieden, MD, MPH, Director, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention; Kana Enomoto, MA, Acting Administrator, Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration; Richard Frank, PhD, Assistant Secretary for Planning and Evaluation, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, and June Sivilli, MA, Treatment Branch Chief, Office of National Drug Control Policy.