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Insurers slighting claims for non-opioid pain treatments
Despite the opioid epidemic, health insurers are still failing to reimburse chronic pain patients for effective non-opioid treatments, including psychological counseling and acupuncture. Even coverage for physical and occupational therapy varies widely in terms of the number of visits allowed, and whether prior authorization is required.
Pain doctors, advocates urge curbs on “forced opioid tapering”
Last week more than 100 healthcare professionals and pain advocates signed a letter urging the Department of Health and Human Services to “prohibit or minimize rapid, forced opioid tapering in outpatients.” The letter was drafted by Beth Darnall, PhD, a pain psychologist at Stanford Medical School. It addresses the plight of chronic pain patients who were prescribed very high doses of opioids in the past, but who—whipsawed by rapid changes in medical consensus about the risks and benefits of such medication—are suddenly finding that they can no longer obtain their medications at such dosages. An estimated 18 million Americans are now on long-term prescription opioid therapies.
Navdeep Kang: Treat opioid addiction like a heart condition
Navdeep Kang, who has a doctorate in psychology, is part of a team of doctors and administrators who’ve pushed Mercy Health emergency room physicians to treat people with addiction disorders like cancer patients, offering them treatment drugs and prompt placement in a rehab center.
A six-part strategy to stop the addiction fatality epidemic: Guest commentary
Young Americans in uniform deployed overseas to fight terrorism are returning home to find their nation utterly losing a completely different battle. Prescription and non-prescription drug overdoses are now the leading cause of death for Americans under 50-years old.
Addiction starts before drug use
There is no shortage of news coverage on the opioid epidemic. I pay close attention, and not because I am a scientist, or a health care provider, or a legislator. Nor do I have a loved one seeking help for a substance abuse disorder.  Not any more.
Nora Volkow on MAT, naloxone, new drugs, and why opioids are unique
This is part 2 of an interview with Nora Volkow, MD, the director of the National Institute on Drug Abuse for the past 15 years.
The Julie Eldred case: a symbolic argument is rebuffed – correctly
The highly symbolic case of Julie Eldred became a cause celèbre among many of the best and brightest in addiction science community. They had hoped a state supreme court would say, loudly and clearly, that addiction is not a moral failing, but rather a chronic brain disease.
Nora Volkow on prescription opioids, chronic pain and ‘hype’
Research psychiatrist Nora Volkow, MD—the director of the National Institute on Drug Abuse for the past 15 years—is one of the world's foremost authorities on opioid and other addictions.
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