Giving Compass' Take:

· Writing for the RAND Corporation, Bradley D. Stein discusses the current opioid crisis happening throughout America and explains that when it comes to creating policy to address this matter, one size does not fit all. 

· While these recommendations are directed at policymakers, what can philanthropy do to support investments in counseling, as suggested in the piece?

· Read more about policy changes to help with addressing the opioid crisis

Americans are living through the deadliest drug crisis in the nation's history. Opioid-use disorders affect an estimated nine out of every 1,000 Americans. The projected economic burden of opioid abuse and overdose is staggering—nearly $500 billion annually, more than the federal government spends on health care for the poor each year.

Only one out of 10 individuals suffering from opioid addiction gets the treatment needed. One of the ways Congress has moved to address the opioid epidemic is through the SUPPORT for Patients and Communities Act, which includes provisions intended to substantially increase access to treatment using medications such as methadone and buprenorphine, the gold standard treatment for opioid-use disorders.

Methadone can be provided to patients only in specially licensed clinics that usually require them to visit daily. But buprenorphine is as effective as methadone for most patients, and it can be prescribed by a qualified physician, physician assistant or nurse practitioner in office-based practices after the providers complete a brief training course. The new legislation includes a number of promising efforts to increase the use of buprenorphine, including adding clinical nurse specialists, certified nurse midwives and certified registered nurse anesthetists to the list of health care providers allowed to prescribe buprenorphine; expanding the use of telehealth and providing grants to establish opioid recovery centers; and increasing the number of education programs so more clinicians can be qualified to prescribe buprenorphine.

Read the full article about opioid policy by Bradley D. Stein at the RAND Corporation.